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Heyward (hamstring) placed on DL

August 31, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon was encouraged when he saw Jason Heyward walk off the field on Thursday under his own power after injuring his right hamstring, but the outfielder was not ready to play on Friday and was placed on the 10-day disabled list."With hamstrings, you don't want

PHILADELPHIA -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon was encouraged when he saw Jason Heyward walk off the field on Thursday under his own power after injuring his right hamstring, but the outfielder was not ready to play on Friday and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
"With hamstrings, you don't want to push it and make it something worse," Maddon said Friday. "You want to play it conservatively as you figure the whole thing out. It's definitely sore. When he walked off the field, I took it as a good sign.
"You have to be really cautious with these things because even if it's mild, you don't want it to become someting more than that, especially at this time of year," Maddon said.
Heyward was injured trying to make a defensive play at SunTrust Park in a makeup game against the Braves. If weather had postponed the game against the Phillies on Friday night, the Cubs might not have made the roster move. Instead, they were able to add an extra arm for the bullpen and called up right-hander Dillon Maples.
Heyward, 29, was batting .275 with 21 doubles, seven homers and 52 RBIs in 114 games this season.
Bryant ready to return
The Cubs do expect Kristopher Bryant to be back in the lineup on Saturday, but Maddon doesn't want to put too many expectations on the third baseman, who has been sidelined since July 24 with a sore left shoulder. In four games with Triple-A Iowa, Bryant was 2-for-10 with three walks and four strikeouts.
"I don't want him to come in here and expect that he has to do a whole bunch of stuff -- I want him to just come and play," Maddon said Friday about Bryant, who will be activated from the disabled list on Saturday when rosters expand for September.
Maddon does have to figure out where to put Bryant, who has primarily batted second or third this season. That was before Daniel Murphy was acquired from the Nationals.
"I like the way it's setting up a lot," Maddon said of the lineup. "Daniel at the top for me has been a difference-maker. I know he's not done it a lot before, but I think what he's done for the group, just look at this lineup and cross that name out. It's just a different vibe for us and a different outlook for the other side. I like the way it sets up, and I think he's setting a great example for the rest of the group."
Maddon does like to alternate the left-handed and right-handed hitters. One player who seems to be benefiting from the maneuvering is Benjamin Zobrist, who began the day second in the National League with a .314 batting average.
"I think he's hitting that well because we have protected him," Maddon said of Zobrist.
Russell also on deck
The Cubs hope to activate shortstop Addison Russell from the disabled list on Saturday as well. He's been nursing both a left middle finger sprain and right shoulder inflammation.
"I guess the hitting component does not bother him," Maddon said of Russell. "His hand feels great. The issue has been his arm and he's been throwing at a distance. It's getting well. It's not 100 percent, but it's definitely well enough to play."
With Major League rosters expanding, the Cubs also could add a few other players, Maddon said. Catcher Bobby Wilson, who was acquired from the Twins on Thursday, was expected to join the team, but he's not ready to be activated from the disabled list. Wilson is bothered by a sprained right ankle.
Hamels back home
Friday marked Cole Hamels' return to Philadelphia for the first time since he pitched for the Phillies in 2015. The left-hander is not going to face his former team this series but will start Monday against the Brewers.
"The way it worked out was good -- let him come back to Philly and enjoy his three days. He deserves that," Maddon said. "Knowing how competitive he is, he may have wanted to [pitch]. I didn't talk to him about it. I thought how it played out was good."
Hamels back in Philly, now with Cubs
Home-field watch
In 2015, the Cubs won a Wild Card berth and advanced to the NL Championship Series. In 2016, they posted the best record in the NL, which gave them home-field advantage in the postseason, and they took advantage of that.
They entered Friday with a five-game lead for the top mark in the NL standings. Is it important to finish the season with the best record?
"It's always important -- it's the best way to do it," Maddon said. "That's what we want to do. It's going to be a tough month [in September]. Getting through this stretch, particularly, we need to get through this stretch in good shape."
The Cubs are in the midst of a string of 23 games without a day off, including an 11-game road trip.
"If we manipulate this properly and continue to pitch and play defense, I think we can end up with the best record," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.