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Cubs notes: Bryant day-to-day with mild ankle sprain

Kris Bryant connects for a grand slam home run in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds last week. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant missed his first game of the season on Friday with a mild ankle sprain and will remain in wait-and-see mode for the rest of the weekend series against the Atlanta Braves.

Manager Joe Maddon said after Friday’s 6-1 win that Bryant was feeling better after rolling his ankle while scoring on an Anthony Rizzo double on Thursday against Milwaukee. An MRI on Thursday confirmed the initial diagnosis of a mild sprain and that kept Bryant out of the lineup on Friday.

With rain forecasted for Saturday, Maddon said the Cubs would wait until Saturday to make a determination on where Bryant is health-wise.

“The (risk) with sprained ankles is to re-jam it somehow,” Maddon said prior to Friday’s game. “That’s the problem with an ankle. You could be feeling fine after even a week or two weeks and you just hit it wrong and you just hit it wrong and you feel it.

“The biggest concern is that always is that someone is not able to hurt themselves any further.”

 

First-timer

 Matt Szczur was just looking for something he could drive when he powered his first career grand slam into the left field bleachers in the eighth inning.

The Cubs, who were leading 2-1 at the time, then turned the inning over to Szczur, who entered the game as a defensive replacement to start the eighth before breaking the game open with the grand slam, his second homer of the year.

“It was just a big hit,” Szczur said. “It was a crucial part of the game and I was just super excited.”

There was no trouble detecting Szczur’s excitement as he rounded the bases and returned to the dugout before making a curtain call appearance following the homer.

“I can’t explain the feelings I have,” he said.

Strong out of the gates

The Cubs 17-5 record marks the franchise’s start since it began the 1907 season with an 18-4 mark. The 17 wins also matches the most victories in the opening month of the season, tying the 2008 Cubs, who also won 17 games in April. But the impressive start doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

“We’re not clicking on all cylinders consistently,” right fielder Jason Heyward said before Friday’s game. When you have a line-up like this, you’re going to be careful with certain people, certain people are still going to have a breakout game and things like that, but we’ve got to keep doing what we’ve been doing as individuals.”

 

Walk this way

A day after taking 11 walks against Milwaukee – their third game this season with at least 10 walks, the Cubs added another seven on Friday to grow their league-leading total to 121 for the season.

“You see up and down the line-up it’s been tough on opposing pitchers so far with how great guys are taking their approach up there and following through with their plan,” second baseman Ben Zobrist said. “If they’re not getting what they’re looking for, they’re taking their base.”

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