Notes: Ross, Rizzo on Lester; injury updates

September 18th, 2020

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager David Ross understood what was weighing on on Sunday night. The veteran pitcher was coming to terms with the fact that it might have been his final start in Wrigley Field, but Ross also had to balance managing the game at hand.

"Probably the hardest pull that I've had," Ross said on Friday. "My stomach was in knots, knowing that I had to go tell him he wasn't going back out after the fifth. I know what this guy's meant to this franchise."

After the game, Lester was emotional about the circumstances surrounding Wednesday's 3-2 win over Cleveland, noting that it was especially hard not to have fans in the stands so he could raise his cap. The 36-year-old lefty is in the final guaranteed season of the six-year pact he signed with Chicago prior to the 2015 campaign.

It is not guaranteed that Lester would pitch in the best-of-three Wild Card Series (currently projected to take place at Wrigley Field) before the MLB postseason moves into a bubble. On top of that, the Cubs will be weighing a $25 million team option (or $10 million buyout) on Lester for '21.

Ross, however, was not ready to declare Lester's days in a Cubs uniform over after this season.

"I look at things through a different lens," Ross said. "I don't see it as his last start here, for me. I see him coming back. That's my hope. I think he's got a lot more to prove. I think he's got a lot more to do in this game. I know 200 wins is a goal."

And if it was Lester's final start at the Friendly Confines, the lefty walked off the field with an incredible legacy (with potential for more this October). He signed with the Cubs after the franchise had averaged 95-plus losses across the '12-14 seasons, and then helped the club end its 108-year World Series drought in '16. Lester has 192 wins in his career.

"I remember his press conference like it was yesterday," Cubs first baseman said. "One of the amazing things he said is, 'I'm coming here to win.' And that's coming to [an 89-loss] loss team in 2014. And we turn around and win 97 and win division after division, NLCS, NLCS, World Series.

"He came here to win, and that's what he's done. He's brought a winning mentality."

Worth noting
• Cubs center fielder Ian Happ was out of the starting lineup on Friday, but Ross said it was a planned day off for Chicago's leadoff man. The manager said it is similar to last weekend, when he worked in days off for Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Rizzo.

"I've been trying to find [Happ] an off-day for a while now," Ross said. "I think it's been pretty evident I'm trying to find everybody some off-days with the off-days we had around here this time, and making sure they're taking care of their bodies before this end-of-the-season push."

• Left-hander Andrew Chafin (10-day injured list, sprained finger on left hand) threw a bullpen session on Friday, per Ross. The manager added that Chafin could be activated "any day now" for the bullpen.

• Lefty José Quintana (10-day IL, left lat) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday, according to Ross. Similar to the situation with Chafin, Ross added that Quintana could be primed for activation "soon after" that workout.

"They have a team that's -- watching them -- it's similar to us in 2015, that started off with a lot of a talent and has found ways to win. And now they're a powerhouse team. Over here, we have guys that have won and know what the playoffs are like. It very well could come down to that, and that would be amazing." -- Rizzo, on the possibility of a Cubs-White Sox World Series