Despite Cubs struggles, Ross excited about his future in dugout
Even while dealing with COVID protocols, a roster overhaul and the Cubs' first losing season in seven years, it always seemed like David Ross is working at his dream job.
President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said last week he's impressed with the work Ross has done since taking over for Joe Maddon.
Ross confirmed he's hasn't soured at all on the task of leading the Cubs through a rebuild, reload or however it turns out.
"I love my job," Ross said this week. "I think I've been very fortunate to be the manager of a major franchise that's done a lot of great things recently. There's a lot of growth that needs to happen -- myself, the team, things we're going to try to continue to grow as an organization and be better in areas. I think it's exciting."
Ross had the unique perspective of being a former teammate of many players he was managing. Once Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez were traded, Jake Arrieta was released, Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester were not re-signed, that number dwindled.
The only players still left from the 2016 World Series team that Ross played on are Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward.
"As much as you miss some of the guys that were here that created the expectations that we're under, there's also some excitement to the flip side of that," Ross said. "There's some struggles and tough times going on right now and ... those struggles usually make the good times that much better.
"That's why you understand it's so hard to win a World Series, and to get back to that platform and being in that space is exciting to me. Being able to put my stamp and signature of what I believe in and continue to mark this organization that way, that's exciting. It's fun. Not that many people get an opportunity to do that."
After the Cubs season ends Sunday, Ross is planning to visit the instructional league in Arizona, where most of the Cubs' top prospects are playing.
But first, he's going to have knee surgery, fixing an injury he said was leftover from his playing days.
"When that's all healed up, I'm going to check on my kids and I will be out there," Ross said.
Before Friday's game in St. Louis, Cubs Nick Martini and David Bote were added to the injured list with no reason given, which means they likely joined Patrick Wisdom and Austin Romine in COVID health and safety protocols.
Nico Hoerner went back on the injured list with right oblique tightness. Maine West High School graduate Tyler Ladendorf, outfielder Johneshwy Fargas and pitcher Cory Abbott were added to the active roster. Abbott replaced Zach Davies as Friday's starting pitcher.
Hoerner's hot bat was one of the Cubs' main storylines of spring training, but he didn't have the type of season he was hoping for. Left off the major-league roster when training camp broke, Hoerner ended up playing in just 44 games, but he did hit a career-high .302.
He went on the injured list after a collision in center field with Ian Happ, a hamstring strain and then the oblique strain.
"I'm definitely grateful for this year and a lot of things I'll take away from that will serve me for a long time," Hoerner said Thursday.