Cubs change course, put Bryant on IL

August 23rd, 2020

CHICAGO -- A few hours before Saturday's game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field, Cubs manager David Ross reiterated his optimism about star third baseman avoiding a trip to the injured list. That stance changed shortly before first pitch.

The Cubs placed Bryant on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Wednesday) with a sprained left ring finger and a left wrist injury. Both issues date back to Aug. 12, when Bryant landed awkwardly attempting a diving catch in left field in Cleveland.

"I just spoke with him in the training room," Ross said Saturday afternoon. "He's got some activities ahead of him and with the trainers. I get updates after he does those things, but he's just in the middle of getting treatment now."

Ross noted that Bryant, who received a medical injection in the ailing wrist on Tuesday, took some light swings with a fungo bat on Friday to test his hand. At the time of his daily media session, the manager said placing Bryant on the injured list was "not the plan" for the Cubs.

"Obviously, if things get worse, that's something we'll look at," Ross said.

After Saturday's 7-4 loss to the White Sox, Ross noted that Bryant tested the hand again with some swings. First, Bryant swung a fungo bat, then he tried with his own bat at about 50 percent effort. The discomfort in the finger and wrist persisted, prompting Chicago's decision to place Bryant on the IL.

Ross added that Bryant can now aim to get some at-bats at the alternate site in South Bend, Ind., prior to rejoining the Cubs.

"The smart thing talking with him was to put him on the IL," Ross said, "and let him get 100 percent where there's no hesitation for when he comes back."

For Saturday's game, the Cubs did not make an additional transaction to fill Bryant's spot. That means that the North Siders were fielding a 27-man roster for the second game of the three-game Crosstown Series.

On the season, Bryant has hit .177 with two home runs, 20 strikeouts and a .594 OPS in 16 games (70 plate appearances). Even before the setback, Bryant dealt with a minor back issue at the end of Summer Camp and a left elbow problem early in the campaign.

Bryant hit a home run in his next at-bat after the dive in Cleveland on Aug. 12, but he then went 2-for-16 in his next four games. He last played on Monday, going 1-for-7 in a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

"We don't want players to try to play if they just can't perform," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday. "Kris felt he could perform. He hit the home run and then kept trying. And I think the way it evolved, he ended up feeling it in his wrist, and he just wasn't in a position to be able to go out and perform. It wasn't the right thing.

"Once it reached that point -- the second it reached that point -- it became clear that the right course of action was to get the treatment and give it enough time where he can come back and sort of feel comfortable in the box and have his swing.

"So I don't think it's going to be a long-term injury and probably not even a long-term lingering injury, but I think we have to give it the time now, so he can be himself."