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Bryant progressing with rehab, plays catch

Cubs third baseman isn't putting time frame on return from DL
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

KANSAS CITY -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has not swung a bat since July 23, which is the last time he felt any pain in his left shoulder. Bryant is following the rehab program -- which he admitted is boring -- in hopes that when he does return, he won't have to deal with any discomfort again.

"It's not fun at all," Bryant said on Tuesday. "It's not fun at all. You've got to do what you've got to do to keep healthy and hope it never happens again."

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KANSAS CITY -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has not swung a bat since July 23, which is the last time he felt any pain in his left shoulder. Bryant is following the rehab program -- which he admitted is boring -- in hopes that when he does return, he won't have to deal with any discomfort again.

"It's not fun at all," Bryant said on Tuesday. "It's not fun at all. You've got to do what you've got to do to keep healthy and hope it never happens again."

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Bryant was batting .276 when he was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his shoulder. He's had two MRIs, which revealed no structural issues. It's just a matter of strengthening his shoulder, which is a tedious process. On Tuesday, Bryant was able to play catch on the field prior to the game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Video: ARI@CHC: Cubs broadcast on Bryant going to the DL

"It's not fun to go in there every day," he said of the trainer's room. "To get on the field, playing catch, throwing a baseball around felt good. It's nice to be able to do that type of thing and being told I can do that. I guess we're going in the right direction."

Bryant won't set a date for his possible return.

"I'm not going to get ahead of myself or put those types of scenarios in my head," he said. "If you do hit the date when you think you could come back, then it's like, 'OK, that's the way I thought.' But if you don't, then things get worse."

Throwing is the least of his worries. Hitting will be key because he originally felt the soreness in his shoulder on his follow through. He has yet to even pick up a bat.

"They haven't told me to yet," Bryant said. "I'll listen to them."

He can tell that he's making progress because of the repetitions he's doing during his rehab.

"I trust what they're telling me," he said of the medical staff," Bryant said. "From the looks of it, I feel a lot stronger and have been able to do more reps of the program we're on which obviously makes me feel better about this whole process."

Just standing and talking, Bryant had no discomfort at all.

"That's the most frustrating part is I feel like I'm normal but it's only when I swing the bat [that it hurts]," he said.

Injury updates
Right-hander Yu Darvish will throw a BP session on Wednesday. He's been out since May because of right triceps tendinitis.

Closer Brandon Morrow was scheduled to play catch on Wednesday. He's rehabbing from right biceps inflammation.

Worth noting
• When the Cubs were on a hot streak, batters were using the middle of the field more and many were collecting opposite-field hits. They seem to have gotten away from that and manager Joe Maddon had a brief meeting on Tuesday with hitting coaches Chili Davis and Andy Haines to go over some things.

"I think it's an intent," Maddon said of the approach. "I really believe when you go up with that game plan in mind, you're not going to do it every time, but you have a better chance of concluding that. I also think you cover more pitches, you cover more of the strike zone. It's not [being] less aggressive, it's just a more focused approach."

Maddon lets the coaches coach, and Davis was spotted in the dugout talking to Ian Happ, who was batting .105 with 13 strikeouts in 19 at-bats over six games this month.

"He's missing his pitch," Maddon said of Happ. "There's a lot of borderline pitches called strikes that are going against him. It's about getting to the next pitch and not missing your pitch when you see it. When you're struggling, you're normally missing your pitch and in bad counts and the pitcher is in the driver's seat. I think that's what's going on."

Video: Must C Combo: Baez's glove, bat carry Cubs to victory

Javier Baez does hear the "M-V-P" chants by fans and is trying not to think about such awards.

"I think he'll feed off that actually," Maddon said. "It's not going to be this great weight on his shoulders that he'll cower to. I think it can fuel him. You ask him the question and he's being honest. 'I'm hearing it.' The best way to disarm a situation is, 'Yes, I'm hearing it.' I think he has the backbone to withstand that kind of a chant."

Baez does have the numbers to back it up. He began play on Tuesday leading the National League in RBIs and extra-base hits, and he was among the top 10 in batting at .302.

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