CHICAGO -- As Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was weighing whether to try to play through a back issue that flared on Tuesday night, Kris Bryant did what he could to ease his teammate’s mind.
"I said, 'Hey, get out of this game,'" Bryant said after the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Nationals. "'Please don't do anything stupid. We need you for the long haul.'"
In a concerning moment for the Cubs, Rizzo left Tuesday’s victory before the fifth with what the team described as lower back tightness.
Following the game, manager David Ross said the first baseman was "day to day," noting that Rizzo tweaked his back while running out of the box after a groundout in the third inning.
In the moments before the top of the fourth inning, Rizzo was quickly met on the field by Ross and a member of the Cubs' medical team after the first baseman was spotted doing some stretching on the infield. Rizzo initially remained in the game, playing out the rest of that half-inning before jogging off and ducking into the tunnel behind the home dugout.
Rizzo has had minor back issues flare at times throughout his career with Chicago.
After Rizzo stayed in the game, Nationals slugger Kyle Schwarber promptly pulled a Zach Davies pitch sharply to the right of the first baseman. The typically sure-handed Rizzo was unable to get a glove on the ball, resulting in an uncharacteristic error. When Rizzo left before the fifth inning, Bryant moved to first base from right field, and Jason Heyward came off the bench and took over in right with the Cubs holding a 2-0 lead at the time.
In the first inning, Rizzo made a highlight-reel leaping catch to rob Starlin Castro of a hit.
In 41 games this season, Rizzo has hit .250 with five home runs, 16 RBIs and an .804 OPS for the Cubs. The first baseman was 0-for-2 with a pair of groundouts in Tuesday's game prior to his departure.
"He's had back trouble before," Bryant said. "But I talked to him and he's in good spirits. He's Rizz."