Cubs’ David Ross on Angels firing Joe Maddon: ‘Thoughts go out to him’

Cubs manager David Ross sent Joe Maddon a text Tuesday letting his predecessor know he was thinking about him.

The Angels announced Tuesday evening that they had fired Maddon amid a 12-game losing streak. The club named third base coach Phil Nevin their interim manager.

Maddon, a three-time manager of the year, joined the Angels in 2020 after five seasons managing the Cubs, including a curse-breaking 2016 World Series run.

Maddon’s first season at the helm in Chicago coincided with Ross’ first in a Cubs uniform, then as a veteran backup catcher.

“Just thinking about him, that’s a sucky thing to hear,” Ross said Tuesday. “I love Joe. Joe has done a lot for me and was a great manager for me. I don’t know what’s going on in Anaheim from that standpoint, but thoughts go out to him.”

Maddon amassed a 471-339 record with the Cubs. He led them to the playoffs in all but his final season as skipper.

“I have a ton of respect for Joe,” Ross said. “Another human being that I’ve learned a lot of baseball from. A lot of my managerial philosophies and the way I handle things are a lot of the example he set when he was my manager.”

A testament to how much has changed for the Cubs in the past few years, only seven players on the active roster in Baltimore on Tuesday played for Maddon in his last year in Chicago.

The Angels started off this season strong, a month ago sitting at No. 1 in the American League West. Entering Tuesday, they’d not only fallen to second in the division but their record (27-29) had slid below .500.

Maddon told The Athletic that he was surprised by the decision, adding, “You always rely on people in charge to read the tea leaves properly. This time, they did not. You didn’t even have to ask me. You can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know.

“Perry [Minasian, Angels general manager,] was in a tough spot. I understand that. Let me just put it that way. I would really rely on the sentiments of the coaches and the players.”

Cubs activate Mills

TheCubs activated right-hander Alec Mills off the 60-day injured list Tuesday, marking the end of a winding road back from a back injury that to start the season. What was originally expected to be a minimum 10-day IL stint turned into a 60-day IL stay due to a quadriceps strain setback.

Rather than make another rehab start on Tuesday, as originally planned, Mills joined the Cubs bullpen in Baltimore. In a corresponding move, the Cubs optioned right-hander Anderson Espinoza to Double-A.

“Millsy’s kind of the swiss army knife,” Ross said of Mills’ role. “He can do a lot for us.”

Bote pulled from rehab assignment

Just as Cubs infielder David Bote (left shoulder surgery) became eligible to return from the 60-day IL, the Cubs announced they’d pulled him from his rehab assignment for bouts of dizziness. He will be evaluated to determine next steps.

Bote last played on June 2 for Triple-A Iowa. In 12 games he was batting .178.

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