Cubs’ Kris Bryant delivers message to brass, baseballs to fans in left field

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MESA, ARZ. — In his first game back in the field since a weeklong bout with shoulder fatigue, Kris Bryant gunned five perfect throws from third base for outs (“I do try to throw it as hard as I can”) and also delivered his third multi-homer game in 10 days – the first off Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.

Service time issues or not, his MLB-leading seventh and eighth homers of the spring were just the latest special deliveries in the message he’s trying to send management.

“Yeah, I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder,” he said, “but at the same time having fun.”

Baseball America’s top-ranked prospect is 12-for-25 (.480) with a 1.520 slugging percentage and .552 on-base percentage this spring, with more home runs than strikeouts (seven). That doesn’t count the two-run homer against the Angels in Thursday’s B game.

Despite the obvious likelihood he’ll open the season in the minors for a couple of weeks to retain an additional year of club control before free agency, Bryant said he still believes he has a chance to make the Opening Day roster.

“Absolutely,” he said.

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