Cub rookie Kris Bryant confident in 6-month staying power

SHARE Cub rookie Kris Bryant confident in 6-month staying power

Bryant says he can handle the final sprint of his longest season.

MILWAUKEE – Rookie All-Star Kris Bryant was out of the lineup Thursday for the series opener in Milwaukee as Joe Maddon continued to address what might be his biggest challenge the final two months of the season.

“I want to be proactive in giving these guys days off,” said Maddon, who often has four rookies in his lineup, most of whom are struggling as the season pushes into August.

Bryant, who was hitting .275 with an .847 OPS through June, is hitting just .176 with a .661 OPS this month.

“I feel fine physically,” he said. “I’m struggling a little bit right now, but I’ve had some bad luck the last couple of days, hitting some balls hard.

“I’m energized. I feel good. I think I’m doing all the right things to take care of my body to prepare myself for this long season.”

The Cubs’ lineup as a whole has struggled since May. And with half the regulars playing in their first six-month season, keeping them “frisky” – as Maddon likes to call it – won’t be easy. Rookie Jorge Soler, for instance, has never played more than 86 games in a season at any level in his life.

“Last year was good though,” said Bryant, whose five-month season was his longest to that point. “I handled things last year, and it’s definitely helped me out right now in terms of the travel, and making sure you get to bed on time and keeping your weight up, all those kind of things.

“But there is an extra month to this season, and I think I’m ready for it.”

NOTE: Maddon had catcher Kyle Schwarber in left field for the second straight game, and said the rookie might get some time at first base, too. “Just as part of his graduate-school studies,” he said.

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