January 24, 2021

Kipnis usually at center of Cubs' dugout enthusiasm

There’s been plenty of talk about Cubs new addition Jason Kipnis being one of the most energetic voices in the dugout this season. Saturday brought some weird video proof.

At some point during the doubleheader against the Cardinals, Kipnis leaned over the fence at the front of the dugout so a teammate, which appeared to be Steven Souza Jr., could clap his feet together. When Kipnis homered in the second inning on Sunday, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo recreated the move.

It didn’t help on Saturday, obviously, The Cubs lost both games of the doubleheader, but that’s not the point.

“His leadership and his personality has been unbelievable,” Rizzo said before Sunday’s game. “Every day he comes in and he’s happy and saying all the right things and bringing the right energy. It’s fun to play with guys like that and we have a lot of guys like that.”

Kipnis, a Northbrook native, was in the starting lineup on Sunday, but has generally split time at second base with rookie Nico Hoerner.

“He’s as professional as it gets,” manager David Ross said. “The guy’s a two-time all-star. He comes in with a great attitude every day. He wants to help out, wants to contribute. He’s been around the game for a while and been around winning. He understand what that looks like. He understands its OK to have fun.”

Souza sent down: While praising Jason Kipnis' fun personality, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also gave a plug to Steven Souza Jr., a player the Cubs sent back to South Bend after Game 1 against St. Louis on Saturday.

“Losing Souza yesterday, we’re losing a big personality and a big guy on the bench for us that gives good energy,” Rizzo said Sunday. “We’re going to have to make up for that these next two months.”

Souza might be back before the season ends, but he was just 4 for 27 at the plate (.148) this season and had a tough at bat Saturday when he struck out looking with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second inning of Game 1.

The Cubs were hoping Souza was ready for a bounce-back year after missing all of 2019 with a nasty knee injury. Manager David Ross talked about having to explain the roster decision.

“I’ve had to do a couple of those lately,” Ross said. “It’s awful. It’s such a short season, it doesn’t even define who he is to me, honestly. You can’t define somebody on 30 at bats with an injury in between. It’s terrible. It’s not fun at all.”

Cubs add lefty: The Cubs added left-handed pitcher Matt Dermody to the roster Sunday from South Bend. Dermody originally signed wit the Cubs on Aug. 6 after playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters, an independent minor league team in Texas.

Dermody spent parts of two season with Toronto in 2016-17, then had Tommy John surgery in 2018. The former Iowa Hawkeye gives the Cubs three lefties in the bullpen, joining Kyle Ryan and Josh Osich.

After Saturday’s doubleheader, the Cubs sent Adbert Alzolay and Tyson Miller back to South Bend, although manager David Ross confirmed Alzolay is slated to start Thursday against Cincinnati.