After COVID-19 delay, Cubs lefty prospect Brailyn Marquez reports to camp

Marquez, who’s vaccinated, said he’s feeling well after testing positive about two and a half weeks ago. He quarantined in the Dominican Republic, his home country.

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Cubs pitching prospect Brailyn Márquez reported to spring training after teting positive for COVID-19.

Cubs pitching prospect Brailyn Márquez reported to spring training after teting positive for COVID-19.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs lefty prospect Brailyn Marquez arrived at spring training Monday after a COVID-19 infection delayed his report date.

Marquez, who’s vaccinated, said he’s feeling well after testing positive about 2œ weeks ago. He was symptomatic but has since recovered. Marquez quarantined in the Dominican Republic, his home country.

“It really isn’t frustrating for me [personally], more so the possibility of affecting the team and the organization by not being there, being ready for them when they need me,” Marquez said.

Marquez went through something similar last season, which delayed his arrival in camp. That time, he said, he was shut down during a monthlong quarantine period.

Between recovering from COVID-19, then suffering what the team called a shoulder injury, he was sidelined for the season. Marquez developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that is commonly associated with viruses such as COVID-19. His shoulder fatigue might have been connected to the condition.

“When I started ramping up again, practicing my throwing, I felt it,” he said. “So I don’t really know where it came from. It could have been from that layoff, from having COVID and being quarantined.”

There has been plenty of buzz surrounding Marquez — the Cubs’ No. 2 prospect, according to mlb.com — the last few years. He made his major-league debut in September 2020 and had some control issues but touched triple digits with his fastball.

When asked, manager David Ross said Marquez would determine his role after beginning his minor-league career as a starter before missing the 2021 season.

“Let’s just give him the freedom to develop how he needs to develop,” Ross said, “and not put any labels on him.”

‘Step on it’

Starter Wade Miley took a cautious approach to building up his workload for spring training, not knowing until a few days before the report date when camp would begin.

“I can’t ramp up, stop, then ramp up again,” Miley, 35, said. “Then I’m toast.”

Miley threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session. He hopes to throw to a plastic stand-in batter in his next session and face real batters after that. Ross has yet to announce Miley’s first spring-training start.

“How much time we got left?” Miley joked. “I need to step on it a little bit.”

It’s still unclear how many pitches Miley will be able to build up to by Opening Day. But last year, he logged four innings in his last spring-training outing, then threw 78 pitches in his first regular-season start.

“I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to make that jump,” Miley said.

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