Hard-pressed to find a healthy third baseman to put in the lineup, the Cubs might have found their justification for calling up top prospect Kris Bryant in the short term.
Bryant, who must remain in the minors until at least Friday to assure an additional year of club control, could be a consideration for the roster quickly after if the injury issues with Tommy La Stella (rib cage) and Mike Olt (wrist) linger past midweek.
Asked if the Cubs could see third-base prospect Bryant “sooner rather than later” in that case, team president Theo Epstein said, “Maybe, yeah. We’ll see. We’ll just weigh all the factors.”
Olt, who was hit on the right wrist by a fastball in Saturday’s ninth inning, was scratched from Monday’s lineup. La Stella hasn’t played since Wednesday because of soreness in the right oblique area and was to try to swing a bat Monday for the first time since then.
Utility infielder Jonathan Herrera started at third for the Cubs the last two games.
Bryant, the top-ranked prospect in baseball, had homers in back-to-back games over the weekend for Class AAA Iowa after a monster spring.
“I said during spring training that his performance obviously last year and even during spring training showed that he’s really close,” Epstein said, “and that we’re probably more likely to get him sooner rather than later. [The season] just started though. We’re trying to get him in a good rhythm down there.
“But we’ll see. Obviously, his development is a hugely important factor and the needs of the big-league team as well.”
The Cubs planned to have Bryant play some games in the outfield for Iowa, but that may not be necessary to merit a callup, Epstein said: “Depends on the circumstances.”