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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant leaves game vs. Pirates with oblique injury

Bryant appeared to have injured the oblique during his at-bat in the second inning. He was replaced by David Bote in the third inning.

Kris Bryant was removed in the third inning Monday because of tightness in his lower right oblique muscle.
Kris Bryant was removed in the third inning Monday because of tightness in his lower right oblique muscle.
Aaron Doster/AP

The 2020 season has been one to forget for third baseman Kris Bryant.

Bryant, who was moved down to the fifth spot against the Pirates on Monday, was removed in the third inning because of tightness in his lower right oblique muscle.

He appeared to have injured the oblique during his at-bat in the second inning. Bryant swung at a first-pitch fastball and grimaced, favoring his right side.

Moments later, manager David Ross and trainer Nick Frangella came out to check on Bryant. After a brief discussion, Bryant stayed in the game and finished his at-bat with a groundout. David Bote replaced Bryant in the bottom of the third.

Bryant has missed 11 games with a nagging left wrist injury and sprained left ring finger.

“I definitely feel like it’s frustrating [for him],” Ross said. “I try to put myself in his shoes, with all the things he’s been dealing with, and I’d be extremely frustrated. He was pretty emotional underneath, and it’s a unique year, and he’s dealt with a lot.”

When Bryant has been in the lineup, he has struggled to find a groove. He has a .195/.283/.301 slash line with two home runs and five RBI in 31 games.

Bryant, who is day-to-day, ranks 39th out of 42 major-league third basemen with a 62 wRC+ through Monday (minimum of 100 plate appearances).

Q to start Tuesday

The Cubs won’t announce their 40-man postseason roster until Wednesday, but part of their plan for the pitching staff is starting to take shape.

Ross announced that left-hander Jose Quintana will start Tuesday against the Pirates.

Quintana (left lat inflammation) had been on the 10-day injured list since Sept. 2.

“I can’t wait to be a starter for the first time in 2020,” Quintana said.

“It’s [been] a tough season for me, starting with my injury, but it’s really exciting to be back tomorrow.”

With no travel days during the 2020 postseason, the key will be rotational depth. And with Quintana back in the fold, the Cubs get help in that area.

Ross hasn’t decided on his playoff rotation or even if Quintana is in it, but having an additional starter with experience available can only be beneficial.

“I just got to see him pitch first,” Ross said. “We’ll get him out there tomorrow and see how far he’s able to give us.

“Pitching is important. Playing every day — yeah, it’s definitely gonna expose the depth that everybody’s going to have and using the full roster and how that shakes out.

“I feel like our pitching group has done a great job this year. They’ve carried us. They carried us early. They carried us here on the back end.”