ATLANTA – The Cubs’ long wait for Kris Bryant is over.
Bryant, who has started only nine games for the Cubs since June 22 because of a sore left shoulder, finished a minor-league rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa on Thursday and is expected to rejoin the team in Philadelphia in time to be activated for Saturday’s game.
“He had a tough day today at the plate, but he’s fine,” manager Joe Maddon said of the 0-for-2, two-strikeout game. “That doesn’t bother me at all.”
Bryant went 2-for-10 in four games for Iowa with three walks and four strikeouts.
His exit Thursday caused a mild Twitter storm when he was called back off the field when he went to take his position in the top of the fourth, the result of a misunderstanding that he was to play only an abbreviated game.
Originally, Thursday was to be a day off for Bryant after three straight starts, but a bad weather forecast for Friday changed the plans.
Bryant, the former MVP, went 10-for-40 with two homers and five walks in the 10 games between his two DL stints for the shoulder. He hasn’t played since July 23.
Cubs trade for catcher
Two days before the deadline for acquiring players in time to be playoff eligible, the Cubs traded veteran catcher Chris Gimenez from their AAA roster to the Twins for backup catcher Bobby Wilson.
Wilson, who has been on the DL the past week because of an ankle sprain, stays on the DL as he joins the Cubs and is expected to be ready to play sometime next week and be the team’s third catcher down the stretch.
“The big rave was that the pitchers love throwing to him,” said Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey, who was with Wilson in Tampa Bay in 2015 and ’16. “He calls a really good game and receives the ball well.”
Hickey wore a “Bobby Wilson”-embossed catcher’s mitt as he spoke. “That’s why he’s coming here,” Hickey said, “to get his mitt back.”
Wilson started for the Twins during the Cubs’ 14-9 victory June 30, a day the heat index was 101 at Wrigley Field. He was one of four players forced to leave the game for heat-related ailments.
The trade includes a player to be named later or cash going to the Twins.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Class AAA right-hander Cory Mazzoni was designated for assignment.
Russell back by end of weekend?
Addison Russell’s sore shoulder has improved enough that the Cubs’ shortstop could be ready for limited duty Saturday when rosters expand and he comes off the disabled list.
That could mean late-inning defensive duty (with Javy Baez sliding to second to replace Daniel Murphy) while he continues to treat his aggravated finger sprain on his left hand.
Notes: Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing (shoulder) is scheduled to make at least one more minor-league rehab appearance, Friday, before being activated from the DL. After struggling, he made a scoreless five-out appearance Wednesday. “That was good to hear,” Maddon said. “He’s really a big part of our group.” …Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Alec Mills, was optioned back to AAA to make room Thursday for Mike Montgomery (shoulder) to be activated and start against the Braves.