PITTSBURGH – Cubs first base and catcher’s coach Craig Driver has tested positive for COVID-19. Driver did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh as a precaution and remains in Chicago as he continues to recover. According to the Cubs, the club’s contact tracing determined no one on the team’s traveling party was a close contact with Driver.
All testing done Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the Cubs’ traveling party came back negative. Quality assurance coach Mike Napoli will remain the team’s first base coach for the remainder of the road trip. The Cubs had another round of tests done on Saturday and will have one additional round of tests done on Sunday.
“I definitely think that it’s something that is an eye-opener, for sure,” manager David Ross said. “I think there have been a couple eye-openers to start the season around baseball, that it should hit home, and understand that this is still a very serious pandemic that we’re in. We have to continue to stay diligent and all that we do.”
“It’s something that’s on our minds every other day with testing and every day with masks and with social distancing,” second baseman David Bote said. “It’s obviously just another thing of like, you can do everything right, and still get it, stuff like that. It’s just been what we’re dealing with the last couple years, and it’s just part of it. So you’re just finding a way to be aware of it and move on the best you can.”
The news of Driver’s positive test comes as the Cubs still work to get 85% of their Tier 1 vaccinated. It’s been a slow process for the Cubs to reach MLB’s threshold for lessened protocols, but having a close member of the coaching staff be affected may expedite the process.
“We’re at the mercy of this thing a lot of the time, so the more guys, we can get vaccinated – I mean, really, the goal is 100%, right? Let’s be honest, the goal should be 100%. So that’s what we’re shooting for and each person has their own views and things, but we’re just continuing to try to educate and encourage them as much as we can to get vaccinated.”
Cubs connection involved in MLB’s latest no-hitter
San Diego’s Joe Musgrove tossed MLB’s latest no-hitter against the Rangers on Friday, but the Cubs have had a connection in the last two no-hitters in baseball. Former Cubs catcher Victor Caratini was behind the plate for Musgrove’s no-no and made history in the process.
Caratini also caught Alec Mills no-hitter against the Brewers last season and became the first catcher in MLB history to catch two back-to-back no-hitters.
“I did text him and he texted me back. I was super happy for him,” Ross said. “I saw the emotion on his face jumping up and hugging Joe, seemed really neat. … First one ever in San Diego. To have all those things and for Vic to be a part of that, I know how special that is as a catcher. I definitely had to fire him a text and was super happy for him.”