The Cubs’ success in May tempered by injury, with Williams being the last
Considering the way things are going, David Ross and Marty Pevey may soon have to become co-managers of the Chicago / Iowa Cubs.
As the roster of injured players grows, Ross’s daily report on their progress grows and the number of healthy players he needs for Triple-A grows. Ross joked on Sunday that he called Iowa manager Pevey and apologized for taking most of his team away from him.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, the Cubs put David Bote on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder dislocation and selected Sergio Alcantara of Iowa. Trevor Williams, who was scheduled to start Monday’s game against the Padres, underwent an appendectomy on Sunday morning and is out indefinitely.
But while the Cubs have had a very successful May, the specter hanging over their rise in the NL center standings is the continuing task of determining who is healthy enough to play.
“The bottom line is, you know, you guys feel for the guys,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Then trying to find guys with little bumps and bruises stays where it doesn’t turn into an IL relay and playing guys and balancing that with trying to win every day and night.”
Anthony Rizzo continues to work to get back into the roster, and his return would make things easier for Ross. But he hasn’t made an appearance since May 25, so the question is how long to wait before adding Rizzo to the injured list.
“We are really losing weight with the players that we have to raise, so I think our first preference would be to let it continue to improve and hopefully not extend the ten days,” he said. Ross said. “But if it’s something that needs to be done, we sure will.”
In anticipation of June
Starting Monday, the Cubs host the Padres for three games, starting a June slate that will be a measuring stick for Ross and his team.
“It’s a tough schedule,” Ross said. “If you look at the point differential, the top three teams are in the West. It will be a good test.
Considering how difficult his roster is, Ross said he isn’t going to read too much into the wins and losses against the teams the Cubs face next month. Playing against the Padres, Dodgers and Giants will be a good barometer for his team’s overall strengths and weaknesses.
“It will be a good test to show us where we need to continue to grow, how we measure up, where they might try to take advantage of the zones,” said Ross.
Kris Bryant’s flexibility is an act of necessity
Bryant is putting on another MVP-caliber season, while also exhibiting additional defensive flexibility.
He’s always been able to bounce back on the court, but with so many injuries or day to day, Bryant spent more time than usual away from his usual position at third base. And with Ross trying to keep his guys healthy in the lineup, there was no time to revisit other positions.
“We don’t have the luxury of extra work right now,” Ross said. “We really try to take care of the bodies and the time under stress, whether it’s on their legs or in the cage. I think he is really relying on his baseball acumen and experience as he has used it in the past. What’s great – obviously it’s a luxury we have. “