CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced on Friday morning that manager David Ross and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer tested positive for COVID-19. The team said both were feeling well and quarantining at the time of the announcement, and both are fully vaccinated.
Per the team, Ross and Hoyer are following both CDC and Major League Baseball protocols, which require them to be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. Cubs bench coach Andy Green will manage the team in Ross’ absence, starting with Friday afternoon's matchup with the Pirates at Wrigley Field.
“It stinks,” Green said. “I love hanging out with Rossy every day. He's a lot of fun. He makes the clubhouse a lively place. You hear him before you see him. There's not everybody in the world that's like that.”
Green said that all of Ross’ close contacts on the team had been identified and tested by the start of Friday’s game. The team will still take other measures to reduce the spread of the virus beyond consistent testing, according to Green, which include being more vigilant with mask-wearing and reducing the time the team spends in the clubhouse.
“It's gonna suck not being around [Ross] for the next 10 days,” Green said. “We hope all of us stay healthy and continue to test negative so we don't have any further spread. Disappointed when we heard he tested positive. I mean, it's everywhere around right now. Not just with Rossy, but obviously it's spreading, and we're gonna do everything we can to protect everybody.”
Among those tested were any players deemed to be Ross’ close contacts. Green said that all players on the active roster were available for the afternoon game because there had been no other positive tests -- a significant development considering Chicago is one of the big league teams that has not yet reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold set by MLB for relaxation of COVID-19 protocols.
Ross and Hoyer both feel healthy despite their positive tests. Green said that could be helpful in encouraging more members of the team to get vaccinated, which might in turn help the club reach that 85 percent threshold.
“These two guys in this instance, they feel great, and hopefully it continues that way,” Green said. “I think everything we see from a research perspective shows that those of us who choose to get vaccinated have a much greater likelihood that we’re asymptomatic or don't experience any kind of major symptom if we do have a symptom. I think that's the message for the unvaccinated guys in the clubhouse who have continued to make that choice.”
Green said he’ll continue to communicate with Ross throughout the manager’s quarantine, and he’ll roll with whatever calls Ross makes “behind the scenes.” Moving forward, Green’s hope is that he’s the only member of the coaching staff that has to speak to the media before Ross returns to the team.
“We do believe we're doing everything we possibly can at this point in time within the clubhouse,” he said. “We're optimistic and hopeful that I'm going to be staring at you for the next 10 days on Zoom until [Ross] gets back here, and you're not gonna have to talk to anybody else because this thing doesn't spread any further.”