With ‘a little bit’ of a knee issue, Kris Bryant sits against Brewers

Bryant left the game early on July 24 with a sore right knee. Joe Maddon didn’t want to stoke any speculation about Bryant’s status.

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Kris Bryant didn’t start the Cubs’ series finale Sunday against Milwaukee.

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Kris Bryant could’ve started Sunday if the Cubs really needed him. Manager Joe Maddon stressed if the stakes were higher, Bryant would’ve been in the lineup.

But because it was just a game in early August, Maddon chose to give Bryant the day off.

“He’s got a little bit of, like, a knee thing going on that I’m just being aware of,” Maddon said. “He’s fine. Playoffs? Yeah, he’s playing today. But I’m watching him and I’m talking to him, and I thought it would be the perfect day to give to him today.”

Without Bryant, the Cubs moved David Bote to third base, and Tony Kemp, whom Maddon wanted to get in the lineup against the Brewers’ Adrian Houser, started at second.

Maddon didn’t want to stoke any speculation about the status of Bryant, who left the game on July 24 early with a sore right knee. Since then, Bryant is hitting .152 (5-for-33) with no home runs and 12 strikeouts.

“I don’t want to create an issue, just get [Bryant] off his feet,” Maddon said. “He would have played today. He could have played today, but I chose to do it this way.”

Behind the plate

As expected, the Cubs put Willson Contreras (right hamstring) on the injured list and recalled Taylor Davis from Class AAA Iowa. Maddon said there wasn’t much new to report on Contreras.

“I don’t want to create conjecture on an injury until we’re absolutely sure,” he said.

Victor Caratini figures to get the bulk of the playing time with Contreras out, but he said it’s never easy to lose an All-Star.

“We’re just going to wait for him,” Caratini said. “In the meantime, I’m going to do everything I can to help the team win.”

August trades have been abolished, so the Cubs will be hard-pressed to find outside reinforcements if Contreras is out for a considerable time. Maddon expects the front office to look for help via the waiver wire.

“The guys are always going to be active in that, but we’ve moved this whole thing along knowing that Taylor would be next in line,” Maddon said.

If the Cubs don’t find any catchers from outside the organization, Maddon is comfortable going with Davis as Caratini’s backup.

“He’s done a nice job here before,” Maddon said. “The pitchers like to throw to him. Analytically speaking, our guys upstairs love him. If it plays out this way, we’re fine.”

Strop update

Reliever Pedro Strop (neck) is progressing well, Maddon said.

He has done some work in the bullpen, and Maddon said he has been told that Strop looks really good, but he would know more on Monday or Tuesday.

“He’s on the horizon,” Maddon said.

This and that

In his third game back, Ben Zobrist started at second base and went 0-for-3 for Class A South Bend.

Zobrist will be evaluated in the next several days.

† A bug is going around the Cubs’ clubhouse. Along with Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood and Kyle Schwarber weren’t feeling 100 percent.

† The Athletics visit for three games starting Monday. The A’s last played at Wrigley Field on June 15-17, 2010, with the Cubs taking two of three.

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