ST. LOUIS -- So, who's the Cubs' Most Valuable Player, Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant? Bryant cast his vote for veteran catcher David Ross.
"He's probably more valuable at times than any one of us here because of what he says in the clubhouse, how he gets us going," Bryant said on Tuesday. "There are times when I'm sitting here super tired and he says something, and I'm like, 'Well, I have to get going now.' That's value to me."
During the Cubs' weekend series in Houston, Ross and Bryant were spotted in the dugout, and the former was doing most of the talking.
"I was probably just venting to him some frustrations [about an at-bat], and he was there pumping me up and telling me I'm the greatest player who ever lived," Bryant said. "That's what he tells me. That makes me feel good. I know I'm not the greatest player who ever played the game, but for him to say that to me, that's all you need when you don't feel right or something. You need a guy like David Ross sitting next to you on the bench doing most of the talking. That was a moment for me and him."
This is Ross' final season, and Bryant is enjoying their moments together.
"He needs to come back as a coach," Bryant said. "I don't know how good he is at throwing batting practice, but we need him here."
• Kyle Hendricks made sure he thanked shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Jason Heyward for their back-to-back stellar defensive plays in the sixth inning on Monday against the Cardinals that helped preserve his near no-hitter.
"I said, 'Sorry I blew it for you guys,'" Hendricks said. "I really appreciate [what they did]. They do it every game, all season long."
But the player who contributed the most during the game was catcher Miguel Montero.
"It's tough to find guys like Miggy," Hendricks said. "He controls the tempo, really. There aren't many catchers who control the tempo of the game. He keeps me in sync, he keeps me on time. He knows when to give me a breather. He has a really good feel.
"We go into the game with a good game plan, and I think his in-game adjustments are where he picks it up the most. He's been around, and he can feel when a guy is trying to do certain things to you. That's where we were on the same page yesterday. I didn't have to shake him off much. He was calling my secondary pitches a lot. When you're on the same page like that, rolling, it keeps it easy."
• Ben Zobrist was a Cardinals fan growing up in nearby Eureka, Ill., but he didn't watch them on television much because he preferred playing the game to sitting and watching. His favorite player? Shortstop Ozzie Smith.
"I couldn't do a back flip -- I tried and I landed on my head a few times," Zobrist said. "He was the guy you wanted to pretend to be like. [Comparing us is] like comparing apples to oranges. He was the guy who caught the imagination of a kid."