Bryant OK after outfield collision with Almora

Playing LF, and following his 24th HR, Cubs star pulled with bruised leg; CF takes responsibility

July 4th, 2016

CHICAGO -- One of the reasons Albert Almora Jr. is a good center fielder is his aggressiveness. But on Monday, he crashed into left fielder Kris Bryant, and the Cubs need to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Bryant was pulled in the fifth inning of the Cubs' 10-4 win over the Reds because of a bruise on the lower portion of his left leg sustained in the collision.

"Center fielders tend to be that way," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Almora's style. "It truly was [Bryant's] ball, and we have to iron that out."

Bryant hit his National League-leading 24th home run in the second and was chasing a fly ball in the left-center gap by Reds pinch-hitter Tyler Holt in the fifth, when Almora collided with him. Bryant caught the ball, and both players tumbled to the ground. They stayed in to finish the inning, but Bryant was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the frame.

Maddon said Bryant would've stayed in the game if it had been closer. He also drew two walks and scored three runs, and he leads the league with 67 runs scored.

"It was my fault, I take full responsibility for that," Almora said. "I can't hear anything, and I don't want to see a ball drop out there. I called it at the end, but it was too late."

Bryant isn't just Almora's teammate. Their relationship developed in the Minor Leagues and the Arizona Fall League.

"He's like my brother," Almora said. "He's going to be one of my witnesses at my wedding in a couple weeks. I came in during the game, and I came in after the game and tried to find him. He's doing all right. I gave him 15,000 hugs and apologized every time. He's good, thank God."

In the third game of the season, the Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber for the season after he collided with Dexter Fowler in the outfield. Maddon didn't like seeing two of the young Cubs smack into each other.

"I didn't like it, I didn't like it at all," Maddon said. "When a player is camped, there's no reason to run a player off. It's aggressive. Down the road, you don't want that to happen."

In fairness, Bryant and Almora have not played a lot of outfield together. Bryant is primarily the Cubs' third baseman.

"Albert's an aggressive center fielder, and that's why he's so darn good," Maddon said. "That's something to be talked about. You can't go out there and keep hitting fly balls. They know, they've got it. You have to be more verbal -- loud, loud when you make that call."