PITTSBURGH — Cubs Manager Joe Maddon leaned back in his chair and looked as taxed as his players, who completed a 24-game stretch without a day off Sunday and snapped a five-game losing streak.
“We need a break,” Maddon said after the Cubs rallied from two deficits to seize a 6-5 win over the Pirates. “We need to reset and get guys rested up. The combination of the schedule and more specifically the last week, the way the games were scheduled, put us in a fatigued situation.”
Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist is hoping the Major League Baseball Players Association will push for changes in the next collective bargaining agreement to ensure that teams won’t go through the type of stretch Chicago just did.
“This is really why we really need to do something, union-wise, with this bargaining agreement,” Zobrist said. “Even with makeup games, your body is not made to do that. Your mind is not made to do that. We’ve got to do better at taking care of players and making sure the fans get the best of the players when they’re showcasing their abilities. When you’re playing that many days, it ends up not being as much about excellence as it is about money and players’ endurance.”
Zobrist, 35, left it up to others to explore ways to avoid a repeat of the demanding stretch.
“There are a lot smarter people than me that can figure out better solutions, but there are solutions,” Zobrist said. “There’s got to be. Whatever it is, I think we need to do something about it. We’ve made a lot of strides over the years in making the game better for players to be able to stay healthy and showcase talent.
“But when you experience something like we’ve experienced the last 24 days, it’s like, whoa, this is not the way our bodies are made to compete.”
The current CBA states teams cannot play more than 20 dates without a scheduled day off, but the Cubs rescheduled a rainout with the Braves for Thursday.
ALL-STAR GAME: White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana was selected to replace Cleveland’s Danny Salazar on the AL roster.
A first-time All-Star, Quintana is 7-8 with a 3.21 ERA. He joins teammate Chris Sale on the AL roster.
Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez was added to the AL roster to replace injured Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrell.
DODGERS: Clayton Kershaw threw 25 pitches off a mound Sunday and Manager Dave Roberts said there was “definitely encouraging” progress in the left-handed ace’s rehab from a back injury.
The Dodgers have not set a timetable for the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s return, but Roberts said he will not be in the rotation when the team returns from the All-Star break.
BLUE JAYS: Edwin Encarnacion dropped his appeal of a one-game suspension for making contact with umpire Vic Carapazza and sat out Sunday’s 6-1 win over Detroit.