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'Rest' assured: Bryant confident in recovery

Darvish optimistic after 'pen session despite discomfort; Mills called up
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant will most likely have to limit his practice swings to avoid aggravating a left shoulder that has put him on the disabled list for the second time this season.

"You're swinging every day, but the times when we're playing 20 games in a row, I don't have to go out and take [batting practice] every day or take however many swings in the cage to tone it down a little bit, and everything will be great," Bryant said Friday.

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ST. LOUIS -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant will most likely have to limit his practice swings to avoid aggravating a left shoulder that has put him on the disabled list for the second time this season.

"You're swinging every day, but the times when we're playing 20 games in a row, I don't have to go out and take [batting practice] every day or take however many swings in the cage to tone it down a little bit, and everything will be great," Bryant said Friday.

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Bryant had an MRI and a cortisone shot when he went on the disabled list June 26, and he had another MRI and cortisone shot this week before being placed on the DL on Tuesday. The second MRI confirmed what the first one had shown -- that there is no structural damage.

Asked if he'll return this season, Bryant was quick to answer.

"Yes. One thousand percent," he said. "Absolutely."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the team -- and fans -- have to be patient.

"This is a rest thing as far as I can tell, and it's a rest and tolerance thing, and the kid's not used to this," Maddon said of Bryant, who was officially diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation. "Listen to the docs, listen to the player and try to make your best guess. Of course, we want him out there, but if the guy is hurting like that, let's make sure we get him the right treatment and whatever he needs and be patient. That's where we're at."

Video: STL@CHC: Bryant smashes a solo homer to left-center

Bryant said his shoulder did feel better when he was activated from the DL on July 11. However, he felt discomfort on what he called a "funky swing" during last weekend's series against the Cardinals.

"We were definitely going completely in the right direction," he said. "We're playing every day, sometimes things come up again, and it's frustrating. Sometimes you have to give it time to rest and heal, and that's where we're at."

In the past, Bryant has been a quick healer.

"I guess it's just us being smart," Bryant said of the process now. "Some of the stuff in the past, we probably weren't smart about, and we were like, 'Oh, yeah, I can do it,' and I probably shouldn't have. This time, I'm being a little smarter with it."

Darvish takes step forward despite discomfort
Yu Darvish threw 23 pitches in his second bullpen session on Friday, and although he felt some discomfort at the beginning of his session, he was able to finish the workout.

"I think we're still going in a positive direction," said Darvish, on the disabled list since May 23 because of right triceps tendinitis.

Video: MIL@CHC: Darvish tosses 6 strong, doubles in win

Even though he had pain and admitted to altering his mechanics to avoid the discomfort, Darvish called it a step forward.

"It's not to the point where everyone is worried," he said. "Me, personally, I'm not worried that much."

Neither was Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

"The bottom line is it was a very positive day, he felt good," Epstein said. "He's still making some adjsutments to get his feel back for his arm action. He got through some discomfort and ended up feeling good."

Mills back in bigs for first time since 2016
The Cubs recalled right-handed pitcher Alec Mills from Triple-A Iowa to take Eddie Butler's spot on the roster Friday.

Mills, 26, was 4-10 with a 4.79 ERA in 19 starts with Iowa this season. He returns to the big leagues for the first time since 2016, when he made three relief appearances for the Royals.

Butler was one of three players included in the Cubs' trade for Cole Hamels, who is expected to join the team on Sunday.

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

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Alec Mills