Cubs still in ‘wait and see’ mode on Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant received an injection in his ailing left wrist Tuesday and was ruled out for the final three games of the Cardinals series (including Wednesday’s doubleheader).
Manager David Ross said then the hope was for Bryant to rejoin the Cubs lineup after Thursday’s off-day, but that hasn’t played out that way as the star third baseman was still on the shelf for Friday’s Crosstown Series opener.
“We’re just gonna wait and see,” Ross said. “Checked in with the trainer — he’s still progressing in the right direction.”
As of his pregame Zoom session, Ross didn’t know what Bryant would be able to do activity-wise on the field Friday afternoon. He did not swing the bat at all Tuesday through Thursday to let the wrist heal.
Bryant initially injured himself making a diving attempt on a ball last Wednesday in Cleveland. He hit a homer shortly after the play, but then sat out Thursday and Friday.
He returned to the lineup Saturday and remained in there for the final two games against the Brewers while also playing both games of Monday’s doubleheader. But he didn’t look quite right, going 2-for-16 with 5 strikeouts and zero walks in those four games.
That prompted a discussion within the Cubs about how to proceed moving forward with Bryant. They planned on giving him at least two days off after the injection to let it work and Ross said he did not anticipate an Injured List stint would be required.
Bryant was banged up earlier this season with a left elbow issue and has played through injuries each of the last two seasons with a lingering knee problem in 2019 and a shoulder injury in 2018.
“I think he just thought he could perform,” Theo Epstein said. “He hit the home run and then kept trying. I think the way it evolved, he ended up feeling it in his wrist and he wasn’t in a position to perform and it wasn’t the right thing. So the second it reached that point, it became clear that the right course of action was to get the treatment and get him enough time where he can come back to feel comfortable in the box and have his swing.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term injury and it’s probably not even a long-term lingering injury, but I think we have to give him time now so that he can be himself. He hadn’t really gotten on track offensively anyway and then with the injury, it’s the right thing to do to let him get to a point where he can feel comfortable.”
The Cubs certainly don’t want Bryant — or any player — to play through injury if it could make the malady worse or if they felt it would impact their performance in a major way.
Bryant was struggling at the plate even before the injury, hitting .195 with a .668 OPS in 49 plate appearances entering the game in which he hurt his wrist.
In spring training, Ross tabbed Bryant as the Cubs’ new leadoff hitter thanks to his exceptional on-base ability (career .382 OBP) and the thought was it would be best for the team to get its best three hitters (Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez) to garner the most at-bats.
The Cubs hope the respite can get Bryant back on track physically and they know they’re going to have to count on him as the season moves along.
“I think everyone who knows Kris Bryant knows he wants to be out there and that there’s big performance and big impact coming,” Epstein said. “He’s just that good of a player — it’s gonna happen.”