HOUSTON — Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who left the game Sunday after a sixth-inning collision with teammate Jason Heyward while playing right field, remained under evaluation and out of the lineup.
Manager Joe Maddon said Bryant reported feeling better after having a follow-up exam on his head and neck area Monday with one of the Astros’ doctors.
Bryant, who is not in the league’s concussion protocol, also is expected to miss the game Tuesday, but Maddon sounded optimistic about Bryant possibly returning Wednesday.
Heyward, who did not get hit near the head like Bryant on the collision, was out of the lineup and still felt “pretty sore.” But Maddon said he might return Tuesday.
Playing in an American League ballpark with the designated hitter and no double-switching needs helps mitigate the effects of the short bench, Maddon said.
Meet Strop in St. Louis?
Reliever Pedro Strop, who went on the injured list three weeks ago because of a hamstring injury, will make a minor-league rehab appearance Tuesday at Class AAA Iowa.
Barring a setback or lingering soreness Wednesday, Strop might be ready to rejoin the Cubs after the appearance, Maddon said.
That would put him in line to rejoin the bullpen Friday in St. Louis.
“We’re going to go very much day-by-day with him,” said Maddon, whose closer-less bullpen has blown 11 of its 21 saves chances – with seven different pitchers blowing at least one.
Strop had been the de facto closer since Brandon Morrow suffered an elbow injury almost a year ago.
“The big thing I’d like to be able to do is get back to these guys pitching primarily one inning, maybe four outs at the most if their numbers are good,” said Maddon, who used workhorse Steve Cishek for a seven-out save in a recent game for lack of late-inning options.
After the game Sunday, the Cubs sent extra reliever Tim Collins back to Iowa and picked up the contract of Iowa infielder/outfielder Jim Adduci — the 34-year-old journeyman from Evergreen Park High School who grew up a Cubs fan.
Adduci, who doubled and homered in a six-RBI game for Iowa on Sunday, made his debut with the Rangers in 2013. He also has played with the Tigers and spent two years in Korea.
“It’s just funny how the game works and how this business is,” said Adduci, who made his Cubs debut in right field. “But as long as you’ve got a jersey on and you’re playing in Triple-A, you’ve got a chance.
“Everyone’s paths are different.”
More bullpen drama?
Left-hander Mike Montgomery, who was supposed to replace Cole Hamels in the fifth inning, left before throwing a pitch after his left middle finger inexplicably swelled up as he warmed up in the bullpen.
“It just ballooned up, and I couldn’t feel the ball,” said Montgomery, who was brought in the game only to show the injury and give the Cubs extra time to warm up their next reliever.
“I think it was just a freak kind of deal that just happened to be two minutes before I was coming into the game,” said Montgomery, who added he had never experienced anything similar.
By the end of the game, the swelling subsided significantly, and Montgomery said he might be able to pitch Tuesday.