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Nice guy Kris Bryant ejected? Must be Cubs-Sox week

Bryant takes exception with Barksdale's third-strike call in the fourth inning Tuesday.

Let’s get one thing straight: Kris Bryant didn’t cuss.

‘‘No,’’ manager Joe Maddon said emphatically when talking about the events that led up to nice guy Bryant’s first career major-league ejection during the Cubs’ 7-2 victory Tuesday against the White Sox. ‘‘I didn’t think he would say anything worthy of ejection. That’s almost like [Ben] Zobrist arguing with an umpire.’’

Forget the three batters Cubs starter John Lackey hit in the fifth inning, the retaliatory shot to Ian Happ’s thigh leading off the bottom of the inning and the dugout spat between Lackey and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

The strangest Cubbie Occurrence in recent Cubs-Sox memory was the ejection of the mild-tempered Bryant after he told plate umpire Lance Barksdale what he thought of his third-strike call in the fourth.

‘‘I was surprised; I wasn’t throwing my helmet or any of that,’’ said Bryant, who confirmed his cuss-word ledger remains clean. ‘‘It was a disagreement, but I don’t think it was too irate.

‘‘It’s frustrating. I know he’s trying to do the best job he can; I’m doing the best job I can. It’s the heat of the moment. I feel like I only want to say something when I know for a fact. Sometimes borderline pitches are really hard to call. That one, I knew for a fact.

‘‘I don’t want to be that guy that gets thrown out of games. I try to be professional on the field, but sometimes you have to stick up for yourself.’’

Bryant’s only other ejection since he started playing as a kid came in 2014 at Class AAA Iowa, also for arguing balls and strikes.

‘‘It was unusual for both parties,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘Lance is normally very calm about things. I asked him what [Bryant] said; he told me. I’m thinking that’s not harsh enough. I mean, I’ve clearly said a lot harsher than that.’’

Neither Maddon nor Bryant would say what exactly was said.

‘‘It was so awkwardly benign — and that he would get kicked out for it,’’ Maddon said.

Bryant said he walked away with no hard feelings and expects to chat with Barksdale on Wednesday.

‘‘Everybody makes mistakes; I do all the time,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘But it kind of stunk in that situation.’’

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.



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