David Ross faces an extremely unique set of circumstances in his rookie season managing. Not only is he guiding the Cubs through a season amid the COVID-19 crisis, but he's doing so with several new rule changes in Major League Baseball.
One such change is the National League adding a designated hitter for 2020 to reduce the strain on pitchers in a shortened season. Ross told reporters on Tuesday he's glad the DH is coming to the NL, although there is one thing he'll miss about pitchers hitting on a full-time basis this year.
"I told Jonny [Lester], I said, the only drawback to the DH for me is I didn't get to pull him off the on-deck circle and tell him he was done for the day," Ross said in Tuesday's Zoom session. "He told me, 'What're you talking about? I'm one of your top five hitters off the bench.'"
Lester started his career 0-for-66 at the plate before getting his first hit in 2015. He's improved since then and has a decent swing, hitting a home run in each of the past three seasons. His 50 wRC+ last season ranked fifth in MLB among pitchers with at least 40 plate appearances.
Lester won't be in the batting order each outing this year, but perhaps Ross will need his prowess off the bench at some point.