‘The world we’re living in’: MLB, Cubs still navigating COVID-19 challenges

The Cubs are also dealing with a spike in ankle injuries.

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The White Sox and Guardians’ game Wednesday was postponed due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization.

The White Sox and Guardians’ game Wednesday was postponed due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

SAN DIEGO — A couple of hours after the Guardians-White Sox game Wednesday was postponed because of multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization, the Cubs-Padres game had COVID news of its own.

The Padres announced that third base coach Matt Williams had entered COVID protocols.

The Cubs, of course, were missing pitchers Marcus Stroman and David Robertson. Both had been put on the injured list this week without an injury designation, which generally indicates a COVID-related move.

“We’ve come to a place where we understand this is the world we’re living in and trying to keep everybody healthy,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “So there’s things that are going to pop up, and we’ll try to handle them and keep everybody safe.”

Just as local and federal guidelines and restrictions have relaxed with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine and the evolution of the pandemic, so have MLB’s health and safety protocols.

Outbreaks have become less common, but — as the Guardians-White Sox postponement reminded baseball — they have not been eradicated.

Not your average bullpen day

Right-hander Keegan Thompson started the Cubs’ third bullpen day in eight games. And in the their 7-5 victory against the Padres, Thompson, who has been thriving in a multi-inning relief role, gave the Cubs four innings and limited the Padres to two runs.

“We needed that from him,” Ross said. “We’ve got such a short bullpen and pitching staff right now. We’ve asked a lot of those guys the last week.”

With the victory, the Cubs won the series 2-1, bouncing back from a lopsided sweep at the hands of the Dodgers over the weekend.

“That’s better,” said catcher Willson Contreras, who went 2-for-3 with a home run. “It feels good to win, of course. We’ve been playing really good games the last few games, and I hope that we can continue to play that way.”

Suzuki out of the lineup

Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game after leaving Monday’s game with a sore right ankle.

“We’ve got a day off tomorrow, see if we can just get him as much rest as possible,” Ross said. “Make sure we’re playing that safe.”

Newcomb to IL

The Cubs put left-hander Sean Newcomb on the 15-day IL with a sprainedleft ankle. The move is retroactive to Sunday, when Newcomb hurt the ankle in the outfield during batting practice.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. from Triple-A Iowa.

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