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Bryant returns to lineup after Tuesday's HBP

Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- On Thursday afternoon, Kris Bryant put away the pompoms and went back to work.

"It was nice to sit back and watch the guys have fun and be a cheerlander for our game," said the Cubs' third baseman and three-time All-Star, who sat out Wednesday's 9-3 victory over Cincinnati after being hit on the left hand by a pitch Tuesday.

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CINCINNATI -- On Thursday afternoon, Kris Bryant put away the pompoms and went back to work.

"It was nice to sit back and watch the guys have fun and be a cheerlander for our game," said the Cubs' third baseman and three-time All-Star, who sat out Wednesday's 9-3 victory over Cincinnati after being hit on the left hand by a pitch Tuesday.

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The reigning National League MVP was back in the lineup Thursday, batting third against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said their pregame conversation to discuss Bryant's health was a brief one.

"He said he was fine," Maddon said. "We talked it over, and he was adament he was fine. I said, 'OK, then, let's go.'"

Bryant entered Thursday batting .287/.400/.529 with 23 home runs and 56 RBIs. He sprained his left pinkie July 19 while sliding into third base, the first notable injury of his career. Bryant played in more than 150 games in 2015 and 2016. He suffered a contusion Tuesday on the side of his hand, but X-rays came back negative.

"[This injury] felt like what I've been dealing with for the last month," Bryant said. "It didn't hit the area that's been sore, so that was good."

Bryant said he did not consider wearing any type of padding Thursday because he was concerned it would affect his swing.

"I'll just ride with it," Bryant said.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant