I've been everywhere, man: Bryant 'selfless'
Cubs rookie prefers 3B, but confident in playing all over the field; earns Maddon's admiration
CINCINNATI -- Kris Bryant has played every position in baseball in his life, including catcher, although that was when he was in Little League. He rejected teammate Miguel Montero's offer of his catcher's gear on Tuesday, preferring to stick to third base.
Bryant was all over the place during the Cubs' 1-0 win in 11 innings over the Royals on Monday night, playing first base, center field, right field and third base, and he said it kept him on his toes.
"I can play them all," he said Tuesday. "I caught quite a bit in Little League, but I didn't like it. You get foul tips off the mask and all that. I couldn't do that. [Monday] was a little different for me, running all over the place. I actually was pretty tired at the end of the game."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted to give first baseman Anthony Rizzo a day off, which is why Bryant started there on Monday.
"K.B. is about winning only," Maddon said. "He's a really selfless player. It's easier to ask that of a guy like that. He's not worried about embarrassing himself. He knows he's prepared to play there, he knows he's prepared to play baseball. His ultimate goal is to win the game."
The last time Bryant pitched was his senior year at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, which wasn't that long ago.
"Whenever I did pitch, my arm would be completely sore, so I'm glad that's not me," Bryant said.
He did play some first base in college. Monday, he wasn't really tested.
"It felt a little different at first, just because the speed of the game is a lot quicker up here and you feel you have to get to the bag a little quicker and play a little closer to the bag," Bryant said. "I found myself taking a couple steps toward first after each pitch so I wasn't late getting there for the throw."
Maddon and Bryant talked about the possibility of more time at first to give Rizzo a breather. Monday was only the second game this season that Rizzo did not play in.
As reporters were talking to Bryant, Montero dropped his catcher's gear bag next to the rookie's locker.
"I don't want that," Bryant said, laughing.
The only catch to Bryant's roving was that he didn't have a first baseman's glove. He borrowed a new one from Chris Denorfia during batting practice, but it wasn't broken in, and even though they tried to loosen it up with oil and putting it in the dryer, Bryant ended up using Chris Coghlan's glove in the game. Of course, the Cubs had to find Coghlan's first-base glove first.
"That was a little zoo there," Bryant said, laughing.
If given a choice, Bryant prefers third.
"I think there's more value to playing third base, especially if I can do it and get better at it," Bryant said. "That's definitely where I want to play. It's where I'm more comfortable, too. I've played there more than all these other positions my whole life."
Since Bryant has played everywhere, could he do that for the Cubs in a game?
"That ain't going to happen," Maddon said. "I'm glad he has. Maybe 13 years from now we'll do it, but not right now."
Bryant's ready for anything.
"Whatever he has up his sleeve, we'll see what he's got," Bryant said.