Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist return to lineup as Cubs blank Brewers 3-0

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Cubs’ Kris Bryant, left, celebrates with Ben Zobrist after scoring on a single by Wilson Contreras during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Cubs star Kris Bryant, a 26-year-old with National League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards and two All-Star appearances to his name, learned a great deal from his four-game absence this week.

After getting hit in the helmet by a 96 mph pitch from the Rockies’ German Marquez last Sunday, Bryant missed four games but gained some perspective.

‘‘Some things catch your attention,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘This certainly did. Everyone wants to get hits and RBIs and home runs and feel great about themselves. When something like this happens, you have to take a step back and realize this game can be taken from you really quick, really unexpectedly. And it’s important to enjoy the game as much as you can when you can.’’

Bryant returned to the Cubs’ lineup Saturday with Ben Zobrist, who came off the 10-day disabled list and hadn’t played since April 14 because of back tightness.

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With the lineup back at full strength, the Cubs and left-hander Jose Quintana shut out the Brewers 3-0 at Wrigley Field. Quintana allowed only two hits in seven innings and gave the Cubs their fifth consecutive quality start.

Bryant, who received a standing ovation before his first at-bat, went 0-for-3 with a walk but said he felt good. Zobrist went 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored.

Bryant declined to say whether he suffered a concussion or what, if any, symptoms he experienced after being hit by the pitch. He participated in full baseball activities Thursday and Friday but didn’t play on orders from the Cubs’ medical staff.

‘‘Our team doctor is making sure that I get to see my kids grow up and stuff like that,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘Because anytime you’re dealing with the brain, a lot can go wrong if it happens again.’’

Bryant wore a C-flap on his helmet, which is an attachment that protects the cheek and jaw. He joins a contingent of notable players who have donned that piece of equipment in recent years, including Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Cabrera.

‘‘I’d actually always worn a C-flap up to high school,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘I didn’t wear it in high school and college because the flap didn’t fit right. But . . . I probably should have been wearing it this whole time.’’

The new gear should help Bryant step to the plate with the same confidence he had before. It’s not hard to imagine a hitter being more cautious after a pitch to the helmet, but Bryant and manager Joe Maddon don’t think it will be an issue.

Marquez reached out to Bryant and apologized through Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who served as a translator. Bryant said he appreciated the apology and knows it wasn’t intentional.

‘‘Anytime you feel like you can’t get out of the way of a ball, you kind of feel helpless,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘That was how I felt. It was going to hit me one way or the other, and I was just doing my best to get out of the way. It could have been a lot worse, so I’m feeling pretty thankful that I was only out four games.’’

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