Ross thankful to be healthy, back with Cubs

September 12th, 2021

CHICAGO -- How eager was Cubs manager David Ross to return to the ballpark over the past several days? When the manager arrived to the dugout on Sunday morning, he quipped that he even missed the crowd of media awaiting him.

All kidding aside, Ross was thrilled to be cleared to rejoin the Cubs following his 10-day self-isolation period in the wake of a positive COVID-19 test. The manager was asymptomatic throughout his time away, and he felt fortunate that his ballclub avoided a spread of the virus.

"You're never really out of the clear, right?" Ross said. "We're always kind of all dealing with this. So I think for me, that was probably one of the harder parts, is just feeling like you put the whole organization at risk for guys getting sick."

Both Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer had positive COVID-19 test results, forcing them away from the team beginning on Sept. 3. They have both since been cleared and the Cubs are back to regular protocols and operations.

Ross was still an active part of the daily planning over the past week-plus, keeping in close communication with his staff, making out the lineups and sending feedback. The manager said watching the games on TV gave him a temporary perspective that he appreciated.

"I jotted down a couple things," Ross said. "It usually was a text right to a coach, like, 'Hey, let's put this on video.' I watched so much dang baseball. I was grabbing stuff from other teams and other games that I would send to [bench coach Andy Green]."

While Ross was away, the Cubs enjoyed a pair of walk-off wins. It was in those moments when the manager really found himself missing being around his team.

"There's like this super happy and sad moment, right? Like, why am I not there?" Ross said. "You're analyzing a lot and then definitely after the wins, you're super happy, but also like, 'Man, I'd love to be in the locker room with the music blaring and high-fiving on the field.'"

Worth noting
• Kris Bryant joked on Friday that he was disappointed that Green (the acting manager while Ross was away) had to "walk me down my red carpet" in his return to Wrigley Field. That made Ross laugh. The manager said he enjoyed watching Bryant's reception.

"It was great," Ross said. "It took me back to the small video moment I got in my last year. It took me back to those emotions I had and how special this place is and how special he has been here."

• Being back with the team on Sunday gave Ross the chance to sit down with infielder Nick Madrigal, who has spent the weekend with the Cubs. The club acquired Madrigal (60-day injured list) at the Trade Deadline.

"Impressive young man," Ross said. "He's happy to be here. I think he's happy to be back in Chicago and happy to see this place with fans. He told me over the weekend how electric it is."

• Third baseman Patrick Wisdom was given a day off from the starting lineup Sunday. Since launching his 24th and 25th homers of the year on Aug. 28, Wisdom had gone 4-for-45 (.089 average) at the plate with 23 strikeouts (through Saturday).

Injury updates
• Infielder Nico Hoerner (10-day IL, right oblique) started a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. Ross said Hoerner will suit up for Iowa again on Tuesday and Wednesday, and "then we'll kind of see from there. We'll try to trust in his feedback."

• Outfielder Jason Heyward was still under evaluation on Sunday morning, following a collision at third base with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford in Saturday's game. Heyward was struck in the head/neck by Crawford's left knee.

"Probably not to scream as much on borderline pitches." -- Ross, joking about what he learned by watching games on TV the past 10 days