CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant (KB) will play for Triple-A Iowa on Monday against Omaha, beginning what the Cubs hope will be a short rehab stint.Bryant has been sidelined since July 24 because of left shoulder inflammation, and he is now using a two-handed grip when he swings to avoid aggravating
CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant (KB) will play for Triple-A Iowa on Monday against Omaha, beginning what the Cubs hope will be a short rehab stint.
Bryant has been sidelined since July 24 because of left shoulder inflammation, and he is now using a two-handed grip when he swings to avoid aggravating his shoulder. How long will he need in the Minors? Cubs manager Joe Maddon (Pino) wasn't sure.
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"When you haven't done that in a while, you get sore," Maddon said on Sunday. "You get sore just standing at third base or left field or [designated hitter] or wherever. You have to work through the soreness and stiffness. As he feels good about that, that will tell us a lot."
When Bryant returns, he could be used in the outfield as well as at third base.
"He can play anywhere," Maddon said. "We've talked to him about that."
Bryant tuned up on Sunday by participating in a simulated game against Drew Smyly (Smiles), who is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
• Alec Mills (Millsy) will get another turn in the Cubs' rotation, starting on Wednesday in the series finale against the Mets. The right-hander struck out eight over 5 2/3 innings in his first Major League start on Friday against the Reds.
The Cubs will go with a six-man rotation and insert Mike Montgomery (Monty) into the mix on Thursday in a makeup game in Atlanta if the lefty passes all his tests. Montgomery has been sidelined since Aug. 14 with left shoulder inflammation.
Keeping Mills in the rotation will allow the Cubs to push Jose Quintana (Lelo) back one day. Quintana went five-plus innings on Saturday against the Reds.
"With all these games in a row, we're trying to be proactive, and it looks like our only opportunity to do something like this," Maddon said of the Cubs' stretch of 23 games in a row.
• In other injury news, Tyler Chatwood will join Bryant at Triple-A to make rehab appearances. Chatwood has been out since Aug. 20 because of left hip tightness, which he felt on Aug. 18.
• Some of the Cubs still have nightmares about the 2015 National League Championship Series when they faced the Mets. On Monday and Tuesday, the Cubs will go head to head against Noah Syndergaard (Thor) and Jacob deGrom (deGrom).
"I'd rather not see them," Maddon quipped.
The Cubs will counter with Jonathan Lester (Lefthander) and Cole Hamels (Hollywood) in the first two games of the series.
"I have all the respect in the world for those two guys," Maddon said of the Mets' starters. "It's going to be interesting to watch us play that. It's not just about them. I think we're going to run into some good pitching, and we do have to do better, there's no question. I believe that we're capable, but we have to keep pitching and catching it like we are. I think [Daniel Murphy] obviously adds a different layer to this event. If [Bryant] does come back, well, you have that to factor in, also.
"As we move further into September, I've talked about Murph making the lineup longer, and you have the chance for KB to make it even longer than that. My point is, that helps against a Syndergaard or [Stephen] Strasburg or [Max] Scherzer or [Mike] Foltynewicz. We have to be on our offensive best behavior the next couple weeks."
• Maddon hasn't been as focused on September callups as he has on getting players back from the disabled list. Besides Bryant, Chatwood and Montgomery, the Cubs also expect shortstop Addison Russell (Addy), reliever Brandon Morrow (B-Mo) and reliever Brian Duensing (Deuce) back soon, too.
"Let's just keep getting these guys well," Maddon said.
• On Sunday night, Kyle Schwarber (Schwarbs) will host his second block-party fundraiser to honor first responders. This is personal for Schwarber, whose father was a police chief and whose sister is a police officer.
"It's big for me and my family," Schwarber said on Sunday. "For me to grow up in a household like that, it made me the person I am today. I feel I want to give as much thanks back as you can. The first year, we focused on making sure we tried to improve the quality of life for [first responders]. This year, we kept going on that, but we also wanted to focus on the families because they sacrifice so much."
First responders from Schwarber's hometown of Middleton, Ohio, also will attend.
"I think the best way to put it is they're there on someone's worse day," Schwarber said. "We have to thank them for that. We also have to thank their families for the sacrifces they put up with, too."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.