Even though he couldn’t manage the Cubs for the last nine days after testing positive for COVID-19, David Ross kept close tabs on his team.
Ross watched every game with a binder of information he likes to keep close by and sent texts to his coaches about things he was noticing. The chance to watch the games on TV instead of from the dugout helped Ross to see the games a little differently.
‘‘It was just a different perspective,’’ he said. ‘‘The main thing for me was seeing how pitches were coming out of guys’ hands, seeing the at-bats, seeing how other teams attacked our hitters. TV gives you such a different dynamic, and I hadn’t seen that in a while. It was good to be able to have that different perspective.’’
It was tough not being able to be around his players, Ross said, because it’s much harder to read things such as their body language while watching from home.
That meant Ross had to spend a lot more time communicating with his coaches to see where different players were mentally as they scuffled. Patrick Wisdom, for instance, hasn’t homered since Aug. 28 and is in the midst of a .091 stretch at the plate. On Sunday, Ross went with Matt Duffy at third base.
Generally, the time away from the team reminded Ross how much he enjoys what he does.
‘‘I think it’s clear I really like my job,’’ Ross said. ‘‘The ups and downs of it are what fuel you. I missed this passion, I missed these guys. Being part of a team, it feels good.’’
He likes it so much that he watched other teams, too, looking for ideas to improve the Cubs. Most nights, Ross was sending clips of plays from other games to his coaching staff to show the players.
‘‘I watched so much dang baseball, I was grabbing stuff from other teams and other games that I would send to [bench coach and acting manager] Andy [Green],’’ Ross said.
Ross said he was thankful not to experience any symptoms from COVID-19, other than boredom.
‘‘Just counting down the days,’’ he said. ‘‘I never really felt bad at all. Thank goodness for college football.’’
Infielder Nico Hoerner (strained oblique) started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa. He played five innings at shortstop and went 0-for-2.
Iowa has a day off Monday, and Hoerner is expected to stay on his rehab assignment through at least Wednesday. The Cubs will assess how he is feeling physically and whether he is ready to rejoin the big-league club later in the week.
Hoerner has been on the injured list since July 29.
(Still) home sweet home
Despite their losing season and being swept by the Giants, the Cubs have a winning record (39-36) at Wrigley Field this season.
The Cubs have six more home games. If they were to drop five of those, 2021 would be the first time they’ve had a losing record at Wrigley since going 31-50 in 2013.