Cubs yet to have players opt out as more big names make headlines
As the Cubs scrimmaged, another big name opted out of the 2020 season.
There was baseball at Wrigley Field on the Fourth of July – but it was a far cry from what we’ve all grown accustomed to. There was no massive American flag stretching across the outfield during a touching rendition of the National Anthem. No special red, white and blue equipment. Instead, it was just the Cubs taking on… the Cubs.
Yu Darvish dueled Kyle Hendricks in an intrasquad scrimmage that ended in a scoreless tie. The Fourth at Wrigley is one of those staples of summer for a lot of folks. But this year, it was a very different feel as the players took the field to 40,000-plus empty seats.
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"“It’s definitely strange,” manager David Ross told MLB.com prior to the game. “You wake up and this is kind of one of those days that just screams America’s pastime. It’s different. It’s a unique day, but I’m trying not to look at it like that. I’m trying to look at the positives. We’re going to have our first scrimmage of the day. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”"
Elsewhere, news broke in Atlanta that a trio of players, including first baseman Freddie Freeman, had tested positive for COVID-19. That’s one of the higher profile players to contract the virus to-date and he’ll by no means be the last, regardless of the league’s policies to keep them safe.
Later in the day, his teammate, former Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez announced he would be sitting out the 2020 season due to the risks associated with the coronavirus. The six-time All-Star and former AL Cy Young winner had signed a minor league pact with the Braves during the offseason.
Among the news that several other guys had tested positive for COVID-19, Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw David Price announced he will also sit out the season. Of course, Price was a big piece in the blockbuster that brought Mookie Betts to L.A. – but now Dodgers fans will have to wait until 2022 to see him don the Dodger blue.
As news of positive tests grows (and will likely continue to do so in the weeks to come), there are going to be more players who decide the risk simply isn’t worth taking the field this year – as is their prerogative. So far, though, no Cubs players have tested positive nor have any decided to opt out. Although it was far from normal, Saturday brought a little bit of ‘normalcy’ back to the club.
"“It was just fun to get back out there, to be honest with you,” Hendricks said. “Obviously, we do it for the fans. And that’s such a huge part of the game, having them there, and the cheers, the roars, all that. But at the end of the day, at least we get to play baseball.”"