LOS ANGELES — Just about the time the Cubs’ lineup could use the 2016 National League most valuable player most, third baseman Kris Bryant instead went on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday because of shoulder soreness that hadn’t improved enough for him to play after three days off.
The move, which is retroactive to Saturday, doesn’t represent a setback, but it indicates the shoulder might have been a bigger issue than originally thought.
Bryant acknowledged Tuesday he first hurt the shoulder on a headfirst slide about a month ago. It began bothering him again during the Cubs’ series last weekend in Cincinnati.
Bryant and manager Joe Maddon say they’re confident he’ll be ready to play when he’s eligible to return Tuesday against the Tigers.
‘‘The 10-day DL permits you to make decisions like this, where with the 15, you might be a little more patient and don’t want to give up those extra days,’’ Maddon said.
Meanwhile, the Cubs entered play Tuesday in an offensive rut that had seen them score three or fewer runs in 12 of their last 17 games. They avoided a fourth shutout loss during that stretch by scoring on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning of a 2-1 loss Monday to the Dodgers.
‘‘That’s honestly the worst part,’’ Bryant said of knowing he was taking up a roster spot while not being able to get on the field to help the team. ‘‘That’s such a terrible feeling. Just seeing the guys out there grinding, battling it out, struggling, and I certainly would hope that I could provide a little bit to help us win.’’
The Cubs recalled infielder David Bote from Class AAA Iowa to take Bryant’s spot on the roster.
Bryant said the shoulder is no worse than it was last weekend.
‘‘It hurt when I first complained about it — like, pretty bad,’’ he said. ‘‘But now it’s just, like, sore.’’
The Cubs don’t consider the injury serious enough to schedule an MRI exam at this point. Bryant, who has one home run since May 14, said he doesn’t think the shoulder has been a cause for any of his slugging decline.
The initial pain a month ago was something that ‘‘flared up a little bit, but I didn’t really think anything of it and maybe tried to just play through it and come back too soon,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘It got better. It wasn’t like anything debilitating. But swinging more and stuff like that [makes it] more likely to flare up, and I guess that’s what it did.’’
Closer Brandon Morrow, who felt strong and had no lingering back issues after his bullpen session Monday, expects to return from the DL on Wednesday, the first day he’s eligible.
‘‘I’m ready to go,’’ he said.
Setup man Carl Edwards Jr. (shoulder) fared well enough in his second bullpen session since going on the DL last month that he’s in line to make his next appearance in a minor-league rehab game, barring a setback.
Darvish in flux
Right-hander Yu Darvish, the $126 million starter on the DL with a triceps injury, played catch in Los Angeles a day after his five-inning rehab start Monday in South Bend, Indiana, and is scheduled to throw a between-starts bullpen session Thursday.
The Cubs hope Darvish is ready to return from the DL to start Saturday or Sunday against the Twins. A decision about whether he’ll do that or needs another minor-league game is expected Thursday.
Right-hander Duane Underwood, who made his major-league debut Monday, was optioned back to Iowa, and hard-throwing reliever Justin Hancock (shoulder) was put on the DL.
Right-handers Luke Farrell and Dillon Maples were added from Iowa to take their places.