Left field or left out — Bryant “letting my performance speak for itself”
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
MESA, Ariz. – Cubs manager Joe Maddon plans to get third base prospect Kris Bryant in a game in left field Thursday, and if that gives the power-surging Bryant another way to make the club, he’s all in.
“I’m all about versatility. I don’t believe I’m stuck at one position,” Bryant said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help the team win, and if that’s in left field, I’ll take that on as a challenge and play my heart out, out there.”
Bryant is hitting .464 with a 2.031 OPS in 32 plate appearances this spring – with a major-league leading nine home runs that matches the most hit in a single Cactus League spring in 10 years.
Bryant’s agent Scott Boras took to the airwaves again Wednesday on a national broadcast to lobby for his client to make the club instead of going to the minors for two weeks or more as a way for the club to preserve an additional year of club control before free agency.
Boras called major league baseball “injured” if Bryant – Baseball America’s 2014 minor league player of the year and current No. 1-ranked prospect — opens the season in the minors.
“I’m staying out of that right now,” Bryant said. “I’m just letting my performance on the field speak for itself.”
If he finishes the spring the way he has performed so far, against progressively more consistent at-bats against major-league pitchers, how disappointing would it be to get sent out – even knowing the likelihood and reasoning?
“It’s kind of at that point in spring training where I’m not really focusing on that right now,” said Bryant, reiterating his point about letting his performance speak for him. “And if that time comes where they have a meeting with me, we’ll see what happens. But right now I’m still here. I’m just going out there trying to get better and improve in the areas that they want me to improve in.”
Be it third base or left field.
Maddon said his reports on Bryant’s practice work in the outfield were good. Bryant played some outfield in college at the University of San Diego.
“I do a lot of shagging in the outfield in [batting practice],” Bryant said. “I think that helps definitely just to ease that transition into actually playing in a game. I felt good.”
How does he explain the huge offensive spring he’s having?
“I just go out there and take it like a real game,” he said. “I take every baseball game that I play in as a way to get better and an opportunity to show what I have and to help the team win. That’s how I’ve been treating it this whole spring training. So I think the results are just a byproduct of me going out on the field and playing as hard as I can.”