ST. LOUIS -- Cubs slugger Kristopher Bryant was scratched from Friday night's series opener against the Cardinals seconds before the game was to begin because he was feeling ill, and he was not expected to play on Saturday either."It was literally last second," manager Joe Maddon said after the short-handed Cubs
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs slugger Kristopher Bryant was scratched from Friday night's series opener against the Cardinals seconds before the game was to begin because he was feeling ill, and he was not expected to play on Saturday either.
"It was literally last second," manager Joe Maddon said after the short-handed Cubs held on for a 3-2 win over the Cardinals. "[Bryant said,] 'Don't take the lineup card up, don't take the lineup card up.' I'm talking to him on the [dugout] steps, and I said, 'This isn't right,' and I'm trying to joke with him, and he's not joking back, so I knew something was not right."
Maddon got one of the athletic trainers and told Bryant he wasn't playing. Jonathan Jay was inserted in right field in Bryant's place and Maddon took the lineup card to the umpires to explain his scribbles.
To make matters worse, Jay was scratched after one at-bat and one inning in the field because of back spasms. Maddon said Bryant will not play Saturday, while Jay was day to day.
• Shortstop Addison Russell played catch on Friday for the first time in three days to test his sore right shoulder. He pinch-hit in the eighth inning of the Cubs' 3-2 win in the series opener against the Cardinals, drawing a two-out walk, but the club wants him to take his time before returning on defense.
"We both feel it's better if we just take this slow," Russell said before the game. "It's still early in the season. You don't want this to linger or get worse. If we tend to it now, and make sure we knock it out and be on the cautious side, in the long run, it'll be better for us."
Russell, who did not start Wednesday in Denver in the finale against the Rockies, said there wasn't one play that caused the problem with his shoulder.
• Outfielder Jason Heyward, on the disabled list with a right finger sprain, took dry swings on Friday for the first time since he was sidelined May 6.
"It's one of those nagging, annoying slow things," Heyward said. "It's in the knuckle [of his right index finger]. Before, it was running through the whole ligament."
Heyward is hopeful he can come off the DL when eligible on Tuesday.
• Ian Happ, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, has been impressive at Triple-A Iowa. On Thursday, he had three hits, including a double, and one RBI in Iowa's 6-5 loss to Salt Lake. Happ is 7-for-15 since returning from the DL.
"I love the way he's swinging the bat," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday of the second baseman. "I don't want to say he's opening eyes, because he did that in Spring Training, but he's continued that and had really good at-bats. We'll let him keep developing down there."
One of the things the Cubs want Happ to do is play second, third and the outfield so he can fill in at different spots on the big league team.
"There's no question he can be a competent fielder at [second base]," Hoyer said
• Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, has been battling a bruised right shoulder, and was still rehabbing at the team's complex in Mesa, Ariz. There was no timetable for when he would join one of the Minor League affiliates, Hoyer said.
• Cubs television analyst Jim Deshaies will miss the May 19-20 games against the Brewers to attend daughter Kelly's graduation. Former Cubs pitchers Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster will sub for Deshaies, who is giving the commencement address.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.