The Cubs have placed right-hander Tommy Nance on the injury list, which seems to hint at a COVID-related absence given the lack of a reason given for Nance’s placement. Taking Nance’s spot is righty Joe Biagini, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Iowa.
Patrick Wisdom, Austin Romine, David Bote, and Nick Martini have also been placed on Chicago’s IL (without any official cause) within the last three days, as the Cubs have apparently been hit with a coronavirus outbreak just as their season comes to an end. No official details have been given about any of the players, so it isn’t known who might have a positive case, or if some players are being held out for contact tracing or other precautionary reasons.
Barring a quick turn-around, it appears as though the placement will end Nance’s rookie season. The 30-year-old posted a 7.22 ERA over 28 2/3 relief innings for the Cubs, as Nance began his big league run with 12 1/3 scoreless frames before batters caught up to him in a big way. Nance wasn’t drafted, as he began his pro career by signing with the Cubs after an indy ball stint in 2015, and then delivered a 3.29 ERA over 123 innings in Chicago’s farm system, missing the 2017 season due to injury.
If Biagini appears in one of Chicago’s final two games, it will mark the sixth consecutive season that the righty has seen at least some action at the MLB level. Perhaps best known for his strong performance in 2016 as a Rule 5 pickup for the Blue Jays, Biagini has since shown flashes of that early, but his numbers cratered after being dealt to the Astros in 2019. Biagini had a 10.42 ERA over 19 innings with Houston 2019-20, while also struggling with a shoulder problem last year. The Cubs inked Biagini to a minor league deal last winter, and he has a 5.50 ERA in 91 2/3 frames with Iowa.