PITTSBURGH — The Cubs have been able to avoid any major issues with COVID this season, but with four games left in the season, they got one more reminder that the pandemic is still in control.
The team put rookie sensation Patrick Wisdom on the injured list before the game Wednesday against the Pirates. The third baseman will miss the final four games of the season.
The Cubs did not give an injury designation for Wisdom or put him on the COVID IL, but over the last two seasons, teams often put players who have tested positive or been a close contact on the IL.
“This is not the wrist,” manager David Ross said of Wisdom. “We’re taking every precaution we can to make sure everybody’s healthy on the field when they step foot out there.”
The move to the injured list also opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which wouldn’t happen in normal circumstances. The team selected infielder Trent Giambrone from Triple-A Iowa to take Wisdom’s place on the roster.
It was clear on the field at PNC Park that something had taken place with regards to a COVID situation. When the team took the field for batting practice, all players, coaches and other team personnel emerged from the clubhouse with masks on.
The Cubs have had to walk a fine line with COVID as they remain one of a handful of teams who did not reach the 85% vaccination threshold. The team has been fortunate to not have an outbreak considering they’ve been unable to reach the threshold.
Wisdom’s situation isn’t the first time the Cubs have had a coronavirus reality check. Ross and president Jed Hoyer both tested positive earlier this month, but both were vaccinated. First-base coach Craig Driver and bullpen coach Chris Young also tested positive earlier this season but were also vaccinated. It’s not known at this point if Wisdom is vaccinated.
According to MLB protocols, Tier 1 personnel who are vaccinated and are close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus would not have to quarantine. Unvaccinated Tier 1 personnel would have to quarantine for seven days if deemed a close contact.
“I think that everybody has gone through some form of adversity within this pandemic,” Ross said. “We’ve had our fair share even as minimal as it’s been. . . . We follow the protocols, and you follow the rules the best way that has been instructed for us to stay safe and try to stick to that.
“I think we found a nice routine in the middle of trying to win baseball games and do the best we can on the field as well. And it’s been a really challenging thing to do.’’
Wisdom took the league by storm with his prodigious power, and quickly began to make a name for himself. And he broke Kris Bryant’s rookie home-run record, slugging 28 homers.
He finishes his rookie campaign with a .231/.305/.518 slash line with 13 doubles, 28 home runs and 61 RBI in 106 games. Wisdom also put together a strong season with the glove, rating as an above-average defender at third base with a plus-four defensive runs saved and plus-six outs above average.
The 30-year-old rookie told the Sun-Times earlier this month that he was excited for the chance to be a part of next year’s roster and after his breakout 2021 season, the chance he gets that opportunity is high.
“He had a really great season,” Ross said before the game. “Super proud of the year he was able to put together for us. Filled a lot of holes and did a really nice job for us.”