SAN DIEGO -- With the Cubs trying return to the postseason a fifth consecutive year, third baseman Kris Bryant can’t give his troublesome right knee much rest.
Bryant and the Cubs sought an alternate solution. He had a cortisone shot on Sunday and was out of the lineup Monday for a second straight day. He hopes to be back to full duty on Tuesday against the Padres.
“The doctors said the shot would help, and today it definitely feels a lot better,” Bryant said before Monday's series opener at Petco Park. “Since the All-Star break, I’ve been getting treatment to make it feel better. But sometimes, it seems, we just can’t catch up.”
Bryant’s OPS in the second half is .773, well below the .955 mark that earned him All-Star status for the third time in his five Major League seasons.
“When I’m swinging through balls, I’m under them,” he said, “which means my back side is going, collapsing. I’m fouling balls off, and I’m in the box wondering, ‘How did I not crush that pitch?’”
Bryant said the soreness in the knee has been fairly constant, and he's tried to fight through it. But he knows the team needs more typical Bryant results while fighting for a postseason spot.
“I feel like I’m a perfectionist, and I beat myself up over stuff like this,” he said. “I just have to find a way to deal with it and get past it. I think what we did was right, in terms of getting the shot and making sure that I’m ready to go for the rest of the year. I want to be out there 100 percent for the guys. If I’m out there at whatever percent, 60 or 70 percent, that’s a complete disservice.”
Injury updates: Baez, Russell
Shortstop Javier Báez might play again in 2019, but only if the Cubs are playing into October. An exam by a hand specialist on Monday confirmed that Baez has a hairline fracture of his left thumb. Ligament damage was ruled out, a club spokesman said, which means Baez can continue a rehab routine.
The Cubs do not expect him to play this month, but they are hopeful he can see action in the postseason.
“We’re just going to have to wait on Javy,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Addison Russell is with the Cubs but unavailable as he goes through concussion protocol after being hit in the head by a pitch on Sunday. He was scheduled for further examination by a Padres team doctor on Monday night.
Cubs top prospect Nico Hoerner, called up on Monday, will handle shortstop duties until Russell returns. When Russell returns, Maddon said the versatile Hoerner can start at second base or in the outfield, where he saw spot duty in the Minors.
• Right-hander Adbert Alzolay was optioned to Class A South Bend but won’t pitch in the Midwest League playoffs. The organization decided his 81 2/3 innings this season were enough coming off a 2018 that saw him throw only 39 2/3 innings because of a right lat strain.
• Right-hander James Norwood was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Monday. He has a 3.75 ERA in 12 Major League relief outings the past two seasons.
• Left-hander Randy Rosario was designated for assignment. He had a 5.91 ERA in 13 relief appearances with the Cubs this year.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster. Within seven days of the transaction, the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.