Cubs manager David Ross sent predecessor Joe Maddon a text Tuesday to let him know he was thinking about him.
Earlier in the day, the Angels announced that they had fired Maddon amid a 12-game losing streak and had named third-base coach Phil Nevin their interim manager.
Maddon, a three-time Manager of the Year, joined the Angels in 2020 after five seasons managing the Cubs, including a curse-breaking 2016 World Series run.
Maddon’s first season at the helm in Chicago (2015) coincided with Ross’ first in a Cubs uniform as a veteran backup catcher.
‘‘Just thinking about him,’’ Ross said. ‘‘That’s a sucky thing to hear. I love Joe. Joe has done a lot for me and was a great manager for me. I don’t know what’s going on in Anaheim from that standpoint, but thoughts go out to him.’’
Maddon amassed a 471-339 record with the Cubs and led them to the playoffs in all but his final season with them.
‘‘I have a ton of respect for Joe,’’ Ross said. ‘‘Another human being that I’ve learned a lot of baseball from. A lot of my managerial philosophies and the way I handle things are a lot of the example he set when he was my manager.’’
As a testament to how much has changed for the Cubs in the last few years, only seven players on their active roster Tuesday against the Orioles played for Maddon in his last season with the team.
The Angels started off this season strong and sat in first place in the American League West a month ago. Entering Tuesday, however, they not only had fallen to second in the division, but their record (27-29) had slid below .500.
Maddon told The Athletic he was surprised by the decision, saying: ‘‘You always rely on people in charge to read the tea leaves properly. This time, they did not. You didn’t even have to ask me; you can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know.
‘‘[Angels general manager] Perry [Minasian] was in a tough spot. I understand that. Let me just put it that way. I would really rely on the sentiments of the coaches and the players.’’
Cubs activate Mills
The Cubs activated right-hander Alec Mills from the 60-day injured list, marking the end of a winding road back from a back injury to start the season. What originally was expected to be a 10-day stint on the IL turned into a 60-day stay because of a setback with a strained quadriceps.
Rather than make another rehab start, as originally planned, Mills joined the Cubs in Baltimore and pitched five innings in relief of right-hander Keegan Thompson. He allowed two runs and four hits, struck out six and walked one.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs optioned right-hander Anderson Espinoza to Double-A Tennessee.
‘‘Millsy’s kind of the Swiss Army knife,’’ Ross said. ‘‘He can do a lot for us.’’
Bote pulled from rehab assignment
Just as infielder David Bote (surgery on left shoulder) became eligible to return from the 60-day IL, the Cubs announced they had pulled him from his rehab assignment because of bouts of dizziness. He will be evaluated to determine the next steps.
Bote last played June 2 for Triple-A Iowa. He was batting .178 in 12 games.