Bryant doubles in 1st game since July 23

Russell also activated from DL as Cubs add 5 to expanded roster

September 1st, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- All the Cubs want from is to be himself.

Bryant returned to the Cubs' lineup on Saturday, starting for the first time since July 23 after being sidelined because of inflammation in his left shoulder. He's adjusted his mechanics slightly and now is using a two-handed grip in practice. Whether he uses it in games will depend on how he feels.

"[The grip] feels great," Bryant said. "There were a couple swings in the [Minor League rehab] where I went back to what I did normally, but no problems at all. I honestly feel really comfortable with it."

Bryant struck out in the first inning but then doubled down the left-field line in the third, scoring on 's two-run triple as the Cubs pulled away for a 7-1 victory over the Phillies.

What does Bryant expect upon his return?

"Just to be Kris Bryant," he said. "That's pretty good to me."

In 2016, Bryant was pretty great, winning the National League MVP when he hit 39 home runs and drove in 102 runs. In 76 games heading into Saturday, he hit 11 home runs and had 44 RBIs.

"Regardless of what the scoreboard [statistics] says, it doesn't matter," Bryant said. "I just want to go out there and be myself. I know I can affect the game in plenty of areas and that's what Joe [Maddon] has always preached to me, be myself. Personally, that makes me feel at ease. He doesn't want me to do anything different, I don't want to do anything different. I just want to be myself."

Maddon inserted Bryant into the fifth spot in the lineup rather than up high. Since Bryant has been sidelined, the Cubs have acquired , who has taken over the leadoff spot.

"KB obviously makes the lineup look more menacing," Maddon said.

Bryant felt he had enough time with Triple-A Iowa, playing four games.

"I'm confident I'll continue to get better as we go along with the rest of the season," Bryant said.

Maddon will likely keep an eye on Bryant and not have him play every day to avoid aggravating the shoulder. Bryant didn't want to be babied at all.

"My shoulder is fine," Bryant said. "My shoulder feels good, strong. I've taken all the precautions to make sure it does feel good, which is taking a month off and tweaking some things here and there. I don't know if he's going to give me a day off because of the shoulder or because of feeling physically tired, but my shoulder feels good."

With on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury, Bryant may play some outfield. He's ready for that.

"I'm sure there will be some moving around and stuff like that," Bryant said. "That's just who we are. None of us really have a set position, which is so cool about everybody here. Nobody's selfish, everybody is willing to move around, and I am, too."

Russell among other additions

On Saturday, the Cubs also activated from the disabled list, but he did not start. Russell has been bothered by right shoulder inflammation as well as a sprained left middle finger. Maddon said he'll ease the shortstop back into action.

The Cubs did add reinforcements on Saturday, when Major League rosters expand for September. The Cubs selected outfielder and catcher from Triple-A Iowa. Right-hander James Norwood also was recalled. Catcher Bobby Wilson, who the Cubs acquired from the Twins, has joined the team but was not activated from the DL.

Gore, 27, played in 49 games for the Royals over four years but has not played in the big leagues this season.

"[Maddon] showed me a lineup and he literally had my name by everybody's name, so there's no telling when I'm coming in," Gore said. "He told me to be ready."

Wilson did catch Mike Montgomery's bullpen on Saturday and is eligible to be activated from the DL on Tuesday.

"This is what you play the game for, you play the game to have the opportunity to win a world championship," Wilson said. "When the Twins came to me and presented the situation, it was tough to say no. With the group they have here [with the Cubs], I know it's a special place and I'm looking forward to it."

He's making progress with his ankle.

"That's the biggest thing -- how do I feel squatting," Wilson said. "That's why I'm here, to play defense and help the pitching staff."

To make room on the Cubs' 40-man roster for Gore and Davis, pitchers and were designated for assignment. Farrell appeared in 20 games (two starts) with the Cubs and compiled a 5.17 ERA. Zastryzny helped the Cubs in 2016 and appeared in six games in relief this season.

The Cubs also confirmed that they have signed lefty to a Minor League contract and he was with Iowa. Garcia was 3-6 with a 5.93 ERA in 25 games (13 starts) with the Blue Jays.

Still in the wings are pitchers (left shoulder inflammation) and (left hip tightness), who are both rehabbing with Iowa.

Heyward on his injury

As Heyward dived for a ball in center field on Thursday, he felt his right hamstring pop. It was as if he was pinged on his leg by one of those small hammers doctors use to test your reflexes.

The Cubs placed Heyward on the 10-day disabled list on Friday, and there is no timetable for his return.

"I can't go out there and play right now," Heyward said Saturday. "When I felt it, I knew it wasn't huge but I knew it was enough. I had to come out of the game. ... I have to be smart about this and take time to get it right."

Maddon on Joe West

Maddon was not aware that shortstop felt he was disrespected by home-plate umpire Joe West on Friday. Baez wasn't happy about a called third strike but said he didn't say anything to the umpire.

Maddon said the friction between umpires and teams used to be much worse.

"This is benevolent, mild, a walk in the park," Maddon said. "There was much more of that method as opposed to today, I think. I think when it happens today, it really stands out because it happens less.

"Joe and I, we've had our differences but I respect him as an umpire. I think he's still one of the best in the game. He's very good. He's just Joe, he's just J.W."