Kris Bryant leads National League third basemen in All-Star Game votes, named finalist for starter
Bryant leads the Cubs in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS this season.
LOS ANGELES — Kris Bryant has been the Cubs’ best offensive player, and he has begun to get recognition for his bounce-back season around the majors.
Bryant is the leading vote-getter among National League third baseman for the All-Star Game with 1,526,186 votes and is a finalist to become the NL’s starter at the position going into the next round of balloting.
The Cubs’ other finalists are first baseman Anthony Rizzo, catcher Willson Contreras, shortstop Javy Baez and outfielder Joc Pederson.
But there are a few Cubs pitchers who are making a serious case to be selected, too. Closer Craig Kimbrel is almost a lock to make the team, and setup men Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera have had among the best seasons by relievers in the NL.
And after his slow start, right-hander Kyle Hendricks has put the NL on notice. He leads the league with 10 victories and is 8-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last eight starts.
Manager David Ross has seen All-Star-caliber performances out of his arms and hopes they continue to receive recognition.
‘‘Kyle, I think he’s leading in wins,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I know wins don’t mean anything to anybody, but the turnaround he’s had. Our bullpen, I can grab a ton of guys. Obviously, the ‘Big Three’ that have been shutdown in games for us: Kimbrel, Tepera, Chafin. [Dan] Winkler’s had a good year.’’
Rizzo (back) leaves early
Rizzo was removed during the fourth inning of the Cubs’ 7-1 loss to the Dodgers with tightness in his lower back. The back issues have been a lingering issue throughout Rizzo’s career and caused him to miss six games earlier this season.
Down on the farm
Second baseman Nico Hoerner led off and played second base in his first rehab start at Triple-A Iowa. He went 1-for-2 and turned a double play on defense before being removed in the sixth inning.
Right-hander Trevor Williams tossed two scoreless innings and struck out two in his first action since having an appendectomy in early June. Left-hander Justin Steele also made his first rehab appearance, pitching an inning and allowing a solo home run.
‘‘Guys are starting to kind of turn that corner right here before the All-Star break,’’ Ross said Saturday. ‘‘It’d be nice to see these guys get some games under their belt, get them healthy, get them back in the lineup and then still have some days off to recover with the All-Star break coming up. . . . We’ve definitely missed a lot of those guys.’’
Catcher P.J. Higgins will have surgery to repair the flexor tendon and partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the Cubs said. It initially was thought that Higgins would need Tommy John surgery. The timeline for return after such a surgery is around six months.