With a 19-4 record since late July the Cubs are surging, but now they’ve lost a pair of key players to the disabled list in right fielder Jorge Soler and reliever Jason Motte.
Soler has a strained oblique muscle, which figures to sideline him until at least mid-September and could knock him out for the remainder of the regular season. He’s had a disappointing season relative to his excellent 24-game debut last year, hitting .265 with seven homers and a .710 OPS in 90 games. Expect to see Chris Coghlan shift back to the outfield, with Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella playing second base.
Motte has a strained shoulder, which is expected to keep him out for at least 3-4 weeks. Thanks to injuries Motte is a shell of his former bat-missing self, striking out just 34 hitters in 48 innings, but he has a 3.91 ERA in 57 appearances and has worked a lot of high-leverage spots for the Cubs.
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”