Ross understands Contreras' HBP frustration

April 7th, 2021

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager David Ross had no issues with ' heated response to being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday night. In fact, Ross said he probably would have boiled in a similar situation.

"I think it was warranted, right?" Ross said on Wednesday morning. "He's an emotional guy and I don't know that I would have reacted any different after what's happened, and how many times he's been hit by that particular group."

Ross was quick to say that neither he, Contreras nor anyone else with the Cubs believes that the Brad Boxberger pitch that hit the Cubs catcher was intentional. It is more that Contreras was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Monday night, and four of his MLB-high 14 hit-by-pitches in 2020 came at the hands of Milwaukee pitching.

"At some point, enough is enough," Ross said. "Pitching in is important in baseball. You have to pitch in. And sometimes you're going to mess up and hit a guy. But when it's consistent, you know, emotions flare, emotions get out of control."

The fact that Contreras was out of Chicago's starting lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the rival Brewers was unrelated to the previous night's episode, which included a brief clearing of the benches and bullpens.

Ross noted that he planned this day off for Contreras for the season's first week, given how many innings the catcher is expected to log this season. Timing the rest day for Wednesday made sense with it being a day game after a night game, combined with another day game looming Thursday in Pittsburgh with a team off-day Friday.

Backup started in place of Contreras.

"He's caught every game up to this point," Ross said of Contreras. "This is somebody I'm really going to try to monitor his innings as much as I can and protect him and his body as best as I can. So, this was scheduled way in advance."

Bote's impressive defense
Center fielder had a great view of the two defensive gems turned in by second baseman during Tuesday's game against the Brewers.

"Really awesome plays," Happ said.

In the sixth inning, Bote was in shallow right field as part of a shift against Milwaukee's Travis Shaw. The second baseman ranged to his right, gloved a grounder and made spectacular across-the-body throw while on the run to nab Shaw at first.

"He did a great job of getting around that one," Happ said. "Getting something on his throw there, that was really impressive."

Bote came through again in the eighth, when Daniel Robertson chopped a pitch from Dillon Maples up the middle. Off the bat, Happ could not see the ball, as it was obstructed from view by the mound. Then, Bote made a slick sliding grab-and-throw from behind second for another highlight-reel out.

"No clue where that one was," Happ said with a laugh. "And then I see Bote sliding and throwing. That was incredible. Actually, it happened so fast, I had to go watch the replay to see what that was."

"I don't know how to control the outside narrative. This is a 162[-game season], right? I'm not going to ride that roller coaster four or five games. I'm not going to do that. Just tell people to hold tight, I guess. Sit back, relax." -- Ross, on early-season overreactions to the Cubs' offense