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Kris Bryant sighting promised but still no timeline for Cub star’s return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Cubs still have no timeline for when Kris Bryant will start swinging a bat again, much less when he might return from the sore left shoulder that has put him on the disabled list twice in the last six weeks.

Bryant might make his first appearance on the field this week in Kansas City, but only to take grounders.

“It’ll just be good to get him out there doing some baseball stuff,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Good for his head, too.”

Not that it has any bearing on his injury timeline.

Bryant

Bryant has been shut down from swinging a bat since July 23 against Arizona. He felt discomfort during range of motion work with the trainer last week and “kind of backed off,” Maddon said.

Bryant has missed more games (29) because of the shoulder in two DL stints this season than all other games combined in his career (28).

If there’s an upside it’s that neither Bryant nor the team believes it’s a serious or long-term issue.

And Maddon said he doesn’t think it will take long for Bryant to be ready for games after he’s cleared to take swings again.

“Once he gets to the point where they take the wrappers off and say let’s go, if there are no setbacks, I think it could happen relatively fast,” Maddon said.

Next step for Darvish

Injured right-hander Yu Darvish — last seen Saturday taking a bilingual shot at media critic Alex Rodriguez — played catch again Monday and is expected to throw a live batting practice session Wednesday.

That session is expected to be broken up into two “innings,” and if he fares well into Thursday, a minor-league rehab assignment could be on the radar screen.

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Darvish hasn’t pitched since May 20 because of soreness near his elbow, and after a setback in late June he was diagnosed with an impingement in the area and given a cortisone shot.

Rotation gyration?

The Cubs are discussing how they might use off days Thursday and Monday to rearrange the rotation for a key stretch of games against Washington, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh the next two weeks.

If the rotation stays in order, lone right-hander (Kyle Hendricks) would pitch against the Nationals (11-18) and Pirates (13-18) — teams with a combined .400 winning percentage against left-handed starters.

“The concern would be if you manipulate it too much you might get guys with too many days off,” Maddon said.

The Cubs entered the week 9-9 since the All-Star break, with a one-game lead over the second-place Brewers in the NL Central.

This and that

Left-fielder Kyle Schwarber opened the interleague series Monday as the Cubs’ DH, and he could remain there this week unless right-fielder Jason Heyward or another regular could use a day off from the field, Maddon said.

Closer Brandon Morrow (biceps) increased his distance to “115 feet” while playing catch Monday. If he has another session from that distance on Wednesday he might be ready for a mound appearance since going on the DL at the All-Star break.