Kris Bryant flashes power as Cubs await his return
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A group of fans and tourists sat in the left-field bleachers several hours before the game Saturday and listened to a Wrigley Field tour guide speak about the stadium and its history.
Suddenly, someone let out an excited shriek. A batting-practice home run ball flew toward the group, prompting a sudden scramble for the souvenir after it landed several feet away.
The blast was one of several off the bat of Kris Bryant, who took live batting practice as he approaches a return from an injured left shoulder that has sidelined him since June 23. He sat out his 13th game since going on the disabled list.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Bryant likely will head to the minor leagues for a rehabilitation assignment, although he didn’t yet know when or where.
“I talked to him yesterday on the bench, and he’s feeling a lot better,” Maddon said. “I talked to him specifically about take your swings, and then we’ll figure it out, try to figure out how many at-bats you may need to feel comfortable coming back and playing with us. That’s going to be the next step.
“[He’s] probably going to go somewhere, get some at-bats. We did not decide or determine how many, and I want to leave that up to him. Basically, how do you feel? Are you seeing the ball well? Does your shoulder feel good? Those kind of things.”
Before his first career trip to the disabled list, Bryant was hitting .280 with nine home runs and 36 RBI in 66 games.
What a relief
It’s hard to imagine how the Cubs’ 8-7 win over the Reds could have gone better for Randy Rosario.
He improved to 4-0 after throwing 2⅓ innings of scoreless relief in place of Tyler Chatwood. His consistency gave the Cubs a chance to come back with one run in the sixth, one in the seventh and four in the eighth.
Rosario also collected his first big-league hit with a run-scoring single to right-center field in the sixth.
“Randy was outstanding,” Maddon said. “He has pitched well for us, but that was one of his better outings overall, and then it puts us in a position to win the game.”
Tell me what happens
Albert Almora Jr. didn’t hesitate when asked whether he would check out the All-Star Game selection show Sunday.
“No, I won’t be watching,” said Almora, who ranks among baseball’s leaders with a .324 batting average. “I’m just focused on these games we’ve got left. I really can’t think of personal stuff right now, personal accolades. I’ll find out if something happens, trust me.”
Almora is one of several Cubs in the running for a spot on the All-Star team. But the 24-year-old could face a tougher path to be included because he wasn’t listed on the fans’ ballot or the players’ ballot.
Almora didn’t start Saturday, but he replaced Jason Heyward in the fourth. Heyward left after taking a foul ball to the groin, and his status for the series finale Sunday is uncertain.