Madrigal meets Cubs players, staff at Wrigley

September 11th, 2021

CHICAGO -- did not get the traditional Trade Deadline experience of arriving at a different ballpark with a fresh uniform waiting and new faces to meet.

When the Cubs acquired the second baseman from the White Sox at the July 30 Deadline, Madrigal was rehabbing a right hamstring injury in Arizona. Less than two weeks later, he met president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer at the Cubs' complex, and they took in an Arizona Complex League game together.

"He was welcoming me to the team," Madrigal said. "He was saying he was excited to have me, my style of play and different things like that. ... We talked baseball, but we also talked outside of baseball, about my family and the whole atmosphere here.

"It was just a great feeling to be able to talk to someone person to person, and not worry about the business side of it. It was nice to get to know him."

This weekend has given Madrigal the chance to finally meet his new teammates.

Madrigal -- acquired with reliever Codi Heuer for closer Craig Kimbrel at the Deadline -- arrived at Wrigley Field on Friday and will continue his rehab in Arizona after the series against the Giants. The infielder underwent surgery in July to repair a proximal tear of his right hamstring, and was recently cleared to resume jogging as he begins a running program.

Madrigal was in uniform and on the field pregame, meeting the Cubs' coaching staff. He has been spending time with longtime friend Nico Hoerner and meeting more players and staff behind the scenes.

"I was fortunate to be able to make this trip," Madrigal said. "I know it's late in the season, but I think it does a lot for me to get in the clubhouse and see the field and the guys. It just helps to be in uniform. It feels a little bit more real now."

The hope for Madrigal, 24, is that he is back to full strength by November and ready for an unrestricted Spring Training with the Cubs next year. When healthy, Madrigal will bring elite contact ability to Chicago's lineup.

Earlier this year, Madrigal hit at a .305 clip in 54 games for the White Sox before the hamstring injury ended his season. Across 2020 and 2021, both his 92 percent overall contact rate and 97.6 percent contact rate on pitches in the zone led MLB hitters (min. 300 plate appearances).

"He's incredibly talented," Cubs bench coach and acting manager Andy Green said. "He doesn't punch out, in a world where everybody and their brother punches out all the time. Having that skillset in a lineup, especially Nico in there as well, that changes our offensive dynamic quite a bit."

Ross to return Sunday
Green noted that Saturday will be his last day temporarily filling the manager's chair for David Ross, who has been quarantining following a positive COVID-19 test result. The plan is for Ross to rejoin the team for Sunday's series finale against San Francisco.

"He's doing well," said Green, who noted that Ross has been asymptomatic throughout his 10-day period away from the team. "He's been in great health the whole time. His time is up from a quarantine perspective."

The Cubs have had no subsequent positive tests among players or staff since Ross and Hoyer last week. Green noted that Hoyer has also been "completely fine" while self-isolating.

"You're thankful it didn't [spread]," Green said. "But you're also cognizant of how quickly it can still show up in any clubhouse or any work culture. We'll continue our vigilance."

Worth noting
• Heading into Saturday's game, the Cubs had gone 6-2 with Green at the helm. Those wins and losses will technically go on Ross' managerial record.

"My record needs a lot of help," quipped Green, who has a 274-366 record as a big league skipper. "So I don't know if I can petition MLB to have these wins transferred over to my resume."

• Right-hander Keegan Thompson (10-day injured list, right shoulder) completed a bullpen session with no issues on Friday, per Green. Thompson is slated to throw at least one more mound session before potentially being activated.

"To be honest, it was a shock. But after the day it happened, I started to figure out what's going on. And I've always been someone that's just, ‘OK, the next goal ahead of me, the next chapter.’ So, I got over it pretty quick. It was a stun, but I'm looking forward to it." -- Madrigal, on being traded to the Cubs