Bryant still out of action with wrist injury

Cubs give KB time to 'feel comfortable'; Trade Deadline approaches

August 21st, 2020

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager David Ross emphasized earlier this week that having back in the lineup on Friday was a goal, not a guarantee. As it turned out, the star third baseman was out of the mix for the opener against the White Sox.

Bryant remains sidelined with a left wrist issue, following a medical injection on Tuesday. Ross noted that the third baseman would continue to receive treatment on Friday and test his hand with some swings. The manager would not commit to Bryant making his return to the field by Saturday.

"We're going to just wait and see," Ross reiterated prior to Friday's game. "I checked in with the trainer -- he's still progressing in the right direction. We'll see how things feel after treatment today and if he's able to hit in the cage or on the field. Just kind of taking it day to day from here on out."

Bryant initially injured the wrist (and his left ring finger) on a dive attempt as the Cubs' left fielder on Aug. 12 in Cleveland. He remained in the game, homered in his next at-bat and then was later lifted from the contest. Bryant then went 2-for-16 in his next four games.

On the season, Bryant has hit .177 with two home runs, 20 strikeouts and a .594 OPS in 16 games (70 plate appearances). Even before the setback with his wrist, Bryant dealt with a minor back issue at the end of Summer Camp and a left elbow problem early in the campaign.

“We don't want players to try to play if they just can't perform,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday. “Kris felt he could perform. He hit the home run and then kept trying. And I think the way it evolved, he ended up feeling it in his wrist, and he just wasn't in a position to be able to go out and perform. It wasn't the right thing.

“Once it reached that point -- the second it reached that point -- it became clear that the right course of action was to get the treatment and give it enough time where he can come back and sort of feel comfortable in the box and have his swing.

“So I don't think it's going to be a long-term injury, and probably not even a long-term lingering injury. But I think we have to give it the time now, so he can be himself.”

Cubs 'have an idea' of trade approach
The Trade Deadline is set for Aug. 31 this year, and Epstein said a “handful” of teams have already set their course in talks. The Cubs’ president of baseball operations said his team’s approach may be to identify complementary pieces for the roster.

“We have an idea of what we’d like to do,” Epstein said, “the different areas we’d like to address, the different ways that we could go about that. I think a number of teams know that resources, or financial flexibility, is going to be a factor, and that has to be weighed into the picture.”

Epstein mentioned the bullpen as an area of potential need, especially an arm that could help the Cubs neutralize left-handed bats. While Epstein did not mention this aspect specifically, Chicago may also be on the hunt for a right-handed bat to help improve the team’s showing against lefty pitching.

“We’ll see how it evolves when it gets down to brass tacks,” Epstein said. “But for now, it’s just sort of admitting that there’s a lot of uncertainty, sharing what you’re trying to do, seeing if there are fits as we get closer.”

Worth noting
• Left-hander José Quintana (10-day injured list, left thumb) tapered his pitch count in his most recent simulated game, logging 28 pitches over two innings on Friday. The lefty logged more than 40 pitches, including warmups.

There is a chance Quintana could be activated during the upcoming series (Monday-Wednesday) in Detroit. Chicago will need a fifth starter on Tuesday.

"Everything went good," Ross said Friday. "We'll wait and get feedback before I put anything out there on when he's coming back and what the plan is. Let me just see how he feels tomorrow, talk to him in person."

• Right-hander Tyler Chatwood (10-day IL, mid-back strain) had his back examined again and gained clearance to resume a throwing program. Ross noted that Chatwood was scheduled to throw long toss Friday and advance to a bullpen session Saturday, if everything went well.

"They've got a ton of slug up and down the lineup. It's a big-swing homer team that can burn you in any minute. ... With a lot of big home run power comes big holes at times. And it's our job to exploit those holes and get a little swing and miss." -- Ross, on facing the White Sox lineup