Is versatility heaven for Kris Bryant? No, it’s Iowa

SHARE Is versatility heaven for Kris Bryant? No, it’s Iowa

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Get used to seeing Kris Bryant in left field. Well for another few days at the big-league level anyway.

The slugging third-base prospect made his second start of the spring in left on Sunday – exactly one week before the season opener – and manager Joe Maddon said Bryant’s not done getting work out there.

Maddon not only expects to have Bryant in left again in the final week of spring games, but assuming Bryant opens the season at AAA Iowa, Maddon wants to see him keep getting time there at both positions.

“I like when guys work in different areas,” the manager said. “The problem is what happens is you never know where the need’s going to arise. All of a sudden you could have the need here and, `Well, he hasn’t played there,’ so nobody’s comfortable.

“I’m comfortable putting guys anywhere. I like to encourage that. And I honestly believe it makes a younger hitter a better hitter, because if he’s moving around a lot and has to work at so many different defensive positions he doesn’t worry so much about just his hitting. He probably comes out to the ballpark that day more concerned about getting his defensive thing down and then he just goes and hits.”

Bryant, who was hitting .459 with a major-league leading nine homers and 1.782 OPS entering play Sunday, played center field part of his last year in college and said he embraces the idea of preparing for more than one position in the majors.

He’s expected to open the season in the minors (with the Cubs pushing his free agency back to the end of 2021 if he stays down at least 12 days).

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