Cubs proceeding with caution as Bryant, Contreras out of Tuesday’s lineup
Tuesday night’s Cubs lineup didn’t come out until 2 hours before game time and when it was finally posted, Anthony Rizzo was leading off with Victor Caratini catching and hitting second.
Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras both received the day off — Contreras for a scheduled breather and Bryant to tend to a couple of aches and pains, including a left elbow issue.
Bryant initially hurt the elbow on his follow-through of a swing. He left Monday night’s 8-7 win early in what was initially characterized as David Ross simply getting him off his feet in a game that started out with a big Cubs lead.
“KB’s dealing with a few little bumps and bruises — he’s got a little elbow thing that I just want to make sure we get on top of it immediately and it doesn’t become a bigger issue,” Ross said. “Extended out in front of a pitch a little bit on his left elbow. He’s not too concerned. A long game, a long travel day, he’s been dealing with a lot of little things.
“Willson — that was a really long game and a long travel day and he worked his tail off last night for that pitching staff. I need that guy to be as fresh as he could possibly be. Just a scheduled day off.”
Bryant has not received any medical testing on that left elbow and the Cubs training staff is not concerned, opting for the cautious route instead at the moment.
Bryant is only 1-for-17 with 8 strikeouts to start the season, but he also was the firestarter in Monday night’s win. He was hit by a pitch and then drew a walk in the 1st and 2nd innings, coming around to score each time.
Ross acknowledged Bryant’s slow start is a bit more magnified in a shortened season, but he also trusts the Cubs star to right the ship at the plate. In the meantime, he will lean on other guys to step up at the plate.
The Cubs manager also doesn’t believe Bryant has changed his approach at the plate now that he’s atop the order.
“I want Kris Bryant to be the player he’s always been,” Ross said. “That’s why I put him in the leadoff spot. He looks like he’s embracing that role.
“He’s had really quality at-bats a lot of the time. I just want to continue to work through that, get his timing and make sure he’s completely healthy.”