Ross 'worried' about Bryant (oblique)

September 22nd, 2020

's campaign with the Cubs this year has been plagued by a series of injury setbacks. Another one arrived on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Bryant was lifted in the third inning of the Cubs' 5-0 win over the Pirates with tightness in his lower right oblique. The injury stemmed from an awkward swing in his first at-bat of the evening and manager David Ross said Bryant was considered day to day until the Cubs can gather more information on Tuesday.

"I definitely feel like it's frustrating," Ross said. "I try to put myself in his shoes, with all the things he's been dealing with, and I'd be extremely frustrated. He was pretty emotional underneath. It's a unique year, and he's dealt with a lot."

Bryant grimaced after a swing and miss on a low-and-in sinker from Pirates righty JT Brubaker in the second inning, but the Cubs star initially stayed in the game after a quick on-field chat with Ross and a member of the Cubs' medical team.

Bryant finished his at-bat with a groundout and then played defense in the bottom of the second, buying time for infielder David Bote to get ready. By the home half of the third, Bote replaced Bryant in the lineup and at third base.

Given the nature of oblique injuries, Ross admitted: "I'm worried."

That said, the manager also pointed to the fact that Bryant was able to stay in for a little longer as a good sign.

"It was kind of positive that he could still feel like he could do a little bit," Ross said. "But another at-bat and something serious happens, and then he's done for the season. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, but I'm trying to hold out hope."

In 32 games this season, Bryant has hit .195/.283/.301 with two home runs and five RBIs for the Cubs.

He missed time earlier this season on the injured list due to left wrist and left finger sprains -- the result of a diving catch attempt on Aug. 12 in Cleveland. Bryant also dealt with a back issue in Summer Camp and a minor left elbow issue early in the season. On Sept. 8, Bryant was hit directly on his left elbow by a pitch and missed the following game.

"He's just been dealing with a lot this year," Ross said. "Injury-wise, trying to get going, not at 100 percent. You give him a little bit of a break and it seems like something else crops up. Yeah, man, it's a frustrating situation for him."

Ross began the season with Bryant as his leadoff man, but center fielder Ian Happ grabbed that role in August and has remained atop the order in light of his breakout campaign. While Bryant has mostly remained in the Nos. 2-3 slots of the lineup, Ross did drop the struggling third baseman to the fifth slot on Monday.

"I know Kris Bryant in the lineup is good for the Cubs," Ross said.

Kyle Schwarber echoed that confidence in Bryant, even as the 2016 National League MVP and '15 NL Rookie of the Year has labored to get in an offensive groove between all the injury troubles.

"The name says it all. Kris Bryant. This guy, he's one heck of a player," Schwarber said. "Obviously, numbers are numbers. And there's been setbacks with injuries and things like that. But whenever this guy's in the lineup and whenever he's out there on the field, you think something great's going to happen."