MILWAUKEE — Despite a recent stretch of missed pitches, poor contact and rough at-bats for star third baseman Kris Bryant, Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t sound concerned Sunday.
“He’s working through some things right now,” Maddon said. “And the big thing is that he is healthy. That’s the important thing.”
Bryant reached base once during a 4-2 loss to the Brewers — on a bloop single just out of the reach of second baseman Mike Moustakas in the fourth inning. His best contact came on a routine fly ball to center in the fifth.
That followed an 0-for-5 game with four strikeouts Saturday, a night the rest of the lineup produced 14 runs.
“He’s just missing his pitch,” Maddon said. “He had some good swings and fouled them straight back. When you get your ‘A’ hack on something, it’s got to be hit hard and kept fair. That’s the next step for him.”
Bryant, who was hampered through much of last season by a left shoulder injury, is just 8-for-35 (.229) with three doubles and 11 strikeouts since his opposite-field home run in Texas on Opening Day.
Bryant was unavailable in the clubhouse, but teammate and pal Anthony Rizzo downplayed the idea that Bryant might be getting frustrated.
“I don’t see it,” Rizzo said. “How many games have we played, nine games? I’m sure throughout the year a couple guys will have a worse nine games than they’ve had these first nine.”
Bryant has said repeatedly since spring training started that his shoulder is fully healed. In fact, he said he is stronger this year because of all the gym work he did over the winter.
“He’s an elite player, and for me, guys like that, you’ve got to encourage them, and you’ve got to be there to support them,” Maddon said. “Of course, him and [hitting coach Anthony Iapoce] have talked. But you’ve just got to stay with it until he comes out the other side.”