PITTSBURGH — The Cubs put catcher Austin Romine on the injured list before Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates. The team gave no injury designation for the move.
Just like with third baseman Patrick Wisdom, who went on the injured list with no injury designation on Wednesday, it usually signifies that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact with someone who has tested positive.
“When you have an outbreak, just like when I was out [because of COVID], they run through a few days of testing to make sure everything’s all right,” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 9-0 victory. “So we’ll continue to do that.”
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.
The move to the injured list also opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which wouldn’t happen in normal circumstances. Catcher Erick Castillo was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take Romine’s spot on the active roster. Castillo has a .199/.307/.246 slash line with a home run and 19 RBI in 57 games.
The Cubs also had a full group in Pittsburgh as the taxi squad — including catcher Tyler Payne, infielders Tyler Ladendorf and Jared Young and right-handers Dakota Mekkes and Joe Biagini — was with the team.
“They’re here for us out of an abundance of caution,” Ross said. “You gotta have some backup [plans] in case something is more serious.”
The Cubs are among a handful of teams that did not reach the 85% vaccination threshold for Tier 1 personnel this season.
“It’s disappointing to not be at 85% as a team,” president Jed Hoyer said earlier this season. “We’ve worked hard to try to convince or educate the people that have been reluctant.”
Six-run second inning carries Cubs
Left-hander Justin Steele, who tossed seven scoreless innings, didn’t have to do too much in his final start of the season as his offense did all of the heavy lifting.
The Cubs got their six-run second inning started with a bang as shortstop Sergio Alcantara crushed a two-run shot into the right-field seats, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
After Frank Schwindel’s RBI groundout made it 4-0, the Cubs got creative on the bases to add to their lead. With Rafael Ortega on third base and Ian Happ on first, Happ got himself into a rundown to force a throw to second base.
As the throw went to second, Ortega scampered home to make it a five-run lead.
A double by Willson Contreras and a single by Matt Duffy would give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
Bote (shoulder) leaves game
Infielder David Bote was removed in the seventh inning with a right shoulder injury. Bote was on the on-deck circle preparing to take his at-bat but felt some discomfort.
He was replaced by Trent Giambrone.
Bote missed time this season with a separated left shoulder.
“He had a little something in his shoulder in the on-deck circle,” Ross said. “Didn’t want to push it in that moment. We’ll have him get it checked out and see where he’s at.”