After sprained ankle, Bryant eases back in left field

SHARE After sprained ankle, Bryant eases back in left field

Kris Bryant celebrates with first-base coach Brandon Hyde after hitting an RBI single during the eighth inning Sunday against the Braves. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

Kris Bryant was in left field Sunday, returning to action after two days to recover from a mild sprain of his right ankle.

“It wasn’t terrible,’’ he said of the injury that occurred when he was running the bases Thursday. “It was very mild, and that’s what all the tests showed.’’

Bryant was fine with returning as an outfielder, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the two-run eighth. He extended his hitting streak to seven games.

“Third will always be the position I like the best, but I’m starting to gain more confidence out there [in the outfield],’’ he said.

The decision had more to do with Tommy La Stella’s play of late, manager Joe Maddon said.

“[Bryant] is an every-day third baseman. I definitely believe that,’’ Maddon said. “But it was a good day to get Tommy involved at third. It’s more Tommy.”

La Stella was 0-for-3, but he has reached base in 10 of his last 16 plate appearances after being hit by a pitch.

Maddon called Bryant “a flex guy’’ who is becoming adept at several positions.

Maddon is cultivating a team full of those types, including Javy Baez, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber (before he was hurt).

“It’s a matter of fitting all the pieces,’’ Maddon said. “It’s nice having La Stella come off the bench, too.’’

Catching on

Catcher Tim Federowicz, called up last week when Miguel Montero went on the disabled list with lower-back pain, got his first start. The veteran, who saw limited action with the Dodgers from 2011 to ’14, was hitless, but pitcher John Lackey liked his work behind the plate.

“Tim and I had a pretty good plan, and we executed well,’’ Lackey said. “He’s real easy to work with, fun to work with.’’

Federowicz hit .323 with two home runs and six RBI in 15 spring-training games.

“He was very impressive in camp,’’ Maddon said. “He’s a veteran who gets it in a crucial position. I like having him around.’’

This and that

Dexter Fowler had his 10th multihit game, going 2-for-5. He has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) has a five-game hitting streak. He stole his second base of the season in a double steal with Fowler in the first inning.

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.

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