Will KB's next 3B start be in All-Star Game?

June 8th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- At some point, will play third base again. Maybe it will be in next month's All-Star Game, given that is the position where the Cubs star finds himself listed as part of the ongoing fan voting.

Sitting on a side wall at Petco Park on Monday afternoon, Bryant laughed about the idea of starting at third for the National League when he has been an outfielder for the Cubs. Bryant certainly has the numbers to carry the fans' vote at the hot corner.

"That would be really weird," Bryant said. "I don't know what they have to do about that. I don't know if there's ever been a situation like this. There's not a utility position in the All-Star Game. Maybe I can make my pitch for that.

"I don't know. That would be weird. I feel like I would have to start playing some games at third to make it seem legit. I don't know."

Bryant was the starter in right field for Chicago's game against the Padres on Monday night. To help manager David Ross navigate through a series of roster issues, Bryant has not manned third since April 20. He has mostly played all three outfield spots, with some cameos at first base.

In the ninth inning Sunday, Bryant made a leaping catch at the wall that robbed San Francisco's Mauricio Dobón of an extra-base hit, and possibly a home run.

"K.B.'s getting more and more comfortable out there with us, moving around," Cubs center fielder Ian Happ said. "That play he made in the ninth was massive."

Overall, Bryant has logged more innings in the outfield (275) this season than at the hot corner (121 2/3), which has been fine by him. Not only has Bryant's willingness to move around helped Ross deal with injury issues, it also opened the door for Matt Duffy to impact the lineup earlier this season.

More recently Patrick Wisdom -- named the NL's Player of the Week on Monday -- has filled in at third base in a big way. Bryant smirked again when asked whether Wisdom's performance (seven homers through his first eight starts for Chicago) might mean the end of the star's days at third.

"Man, who knows? I've been having a lot of fun with Wizzy," Bryant said. "I'll go play in the outfield. I have no problem with it. Hey, he might be the third baseman for a long time. Who knows? The way he's playing. It's like, 'All right. All right.'"

Ross 'impressed' by Stewart
When the Cubs activated outfielder Jake Marisnick from the 10-day injured list on Monday, righty was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to clear a roster spot. With two recent starts, Stewart made a strong impression on Ross.

"Kohl threw great," Ross said. "I loved the two-seam fastball. His execution with the fastball, cutter, I thought was really good. He gave us some solid innings, especially his first start."

Ross called Stewart's performance (3.12 ERA with seven strikeouts and three walks in 8 2/3 innings) a "nice pick-me-up" after Trevor Williams required an emergency appendectomy. Now, the Cubs do not need a fifth starter until June 15 against the Mets.

"I was really impressed," Ross said. "It was a nice guy to be able to call on and gave us some surprisingly nice innings."

On this date: Cubs signed Kimbrel
Monday marked the two-year anniversary of the Cubs signing closer Craig Kimbrel to a multiyear contract. After two years filled with a variety of ups and downs, Kimbrel has been in vintage form this season, posting a 0.75 ERA with 41 strikeouts, eight walks and 14 saves through 24 games.

"Prior to coming to us, he had an amazing career already," Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. "When you get a guy of that caliber, a lot of times, there's a feeling-out period. ... I'm not surprised [how he is pitching] now, with the way he ended [last season] and the things we were focused on, the things we were talking about, and then what he was able to do from jump-street this year.

"It's a testament to the work he's put in and the type of pitcher he is. But, too, our ability as a group to all get on the same page of what we all believed was going to get him back to what he was. It's been fun to see him do that."

"During Spring Training, I never had a chance to work with K.B. in the outfield. So when he was out there for the first time, being in charge of the outfielders, I'm like, 'Oh man, what're we going to get here?' And all the guys were telling me, 'Don't worry. You're fine. He's a natural out there.' I took their advice and just watched him play and he gets it. Nothing gets too fast for him." -- Cubs third-base coach Willie Harris