CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs manager David Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer have tested positive for COVID-19.
A spokesman for the team said Ross and Hoyer are feeling fine in isolation. Both of them are vaccinated.
Ross and Hoyer likely will have to stay away from the team for at least 10 days, though Major League Baseball has made exceptions for individuals cleared by its medical experts, based on not being infectious.
Bench coach Andy Green will run the team while Ross is away, but he was ejected by second base umpire Tom Hallion in the sixth inning of Friday’s 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Green went out to second to try to get the umpires to review Kevin Newman‘s slide on a potential double play that turned into a throwing error on Cubs shortstop Sergio Alcantara, bringing home a run. Green spiked his hat after he was thrown out, and then continued his argument with Hallion before departing to a round of cheers from the crowd at Wrigley Field.
“That conversation didn’t go the direction I was hoping it would go,” Green said, “and it got a little heated.”
Green wasn’t sure who managed the team after he was ejected. He guessed pitching coach Tommy Hottovy.
“I didn’t stick around to find out. … At this point in time, your guess is as good as mine,” he said.
Green said before the game that Ross’ close contacts had been tested and there were no other positive COVID-19 tests within the clubhouse.
Pitcher Alec Mills said he heard about Ross and Hoyer when he arrived at the ballpark.
“When we got in, it was like `Hey, this has happened. Let’s just kind of be super diligent about social distancing, wearing our mask when we need to,’ kind of thing like that,” he said. “But, at the same time, you know, I think, I’m vaccinated, I’m going to let the science work. So obviously take the precautions necessary, but just go out and pitch and do what I need to do for my job.”
The Cubs are among a handful of big league teams that have failed to reach the 85% vaccination threshold required for the relaxation of MLB’s COVID-19 protocols.
Green said the team is planning to make some changes in light of the pair of positive tests. He also said there were no conversations about canceling Friday’s game.
“We take COVID incredibly seriously around here,” Green said. “We’re going to do a number of things and not just test his close contacts. We’re going to try to reduce our time in the clubhouse over the coming week, to try to mitigate as much as humanly possible the spread of it.”
Green, 44, is in his second season as Ross’ bench coach. Green managed the San Diego Padres for almost four seasons before he was fired in September 2019.
He said it will be tough not having Ross around.
“He’s a lot of fun. He makes the clubhouse a lively place,” Green said. “You hear him before you see him. Not everybody in the world is like that, so it’s going to suck not being around him for the next 10 days. We hope all of us stay healthy and continue to test negative so we don’t have any further spread.”
The positive tests for Ross and Hoyer come with the Cubs likely headed for their worst finish since they went 73-89 in 2014. They had at least a share of first place as late as June 24 before an 11-game slide sent them spiraling out of contention.
Hoyer expressed frustration with the team’s vaccination rate in May, arguing that falling short of the 85% threshold was “a real competitive advantage that we’re going to miss.”
The Cubs had two coaches test positive for COVID-19 back in April, playing a role in a flurry of moves for the team.