Notes: Bryant talks injury; Cubs add Miller

August 23rd, 2020

CHICAGO -- Standing in the on-deck circle in the sixth inning back on Aug. 12, told Anthony Rizzo that his left wrist was not feeling right. A half-inning earlier, Bryant had landed awkwardly attempting a diving catch in left field, tweaking the wrist and his left ring finger.

Then, Bryant hit a home run in his next at-bat in Cleveland, sparking a mental battle over the next several days.

"I just didn't want to come out," Bryant said on Sunday. "And then, of course, you hit a homer and it's like you're on that home run high and you feel great and you're like, 'Oh man, this is awesome. OK, I'm fine. Nothing's hurting. I'm good. I'm good.'

"And then, it just progressively speeds up on you."

Bryant attempted to play through the issue, but he went 2-for-16 over his next four games, had the injury worsen over time and was eventually placed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday. The third baseman and part-time outfielder received a medical injection on Tuesday, but that did little to alleviate the discomfort.

Bryant tested the wrist with some light swinging in recent days and said he still felt a pinch on the outside of his wrist when rolling his hands over on extension. He will continue to receive treatment in the coming days with the goal of getting some at-bats at the Cubs' alternate training site in South Bend, Ind., once the wrist feels 100 percent again.

"If you've got that hesitation mentally and physically," Cubs manager David Ross said, "you're just not going to have a whole lot of success. That's why it's just really important for us to give him the time he needs to get that thing fully healthy and come back and be the player that he expects to be."

In a normal season, a player might have an easier time accepting a trip to the injured list with this kind of injury. Bryant said the nature of the 60-game season -- when "you do feel like you're running out of time" -- creates an additional mental struggle for players with nagging issues.

"Absolutely," Bryant said. "The hardest part is to balance that mental side of getting through pain or injury, especially with games running out. You've just got to accept it for what it is and take the time to get better. But, yeah, it's very frustrating just to continue to look at the schedule and realize that, 'Hey, man, we're running out of time here.'"

Bryant, who is batting .177 with a .594 OPS in 16 games this season, expressed optimism about being able to return and doing so at full strength again. That said, he would not speculate about when he might return.

"It's dangerous when you start putting timelines on things," he said.

Miller up from South Bend
Outfielder made a strong impression on the Cubs as a non-roster invitee in Spring Training. Before baseball's shutdown period, the fleet-footed outfielder played well enough to be a finalist for one of the last vacancies on the bench.

Prior to Sunday's game, Miller officially had his contract selected by the Cubs from the alternate training site. In 20 Cactus League games, Miller hit at a .371 clip and stole eight bases for Chicago.

"He understands how he's going to impact the game," Ross said. "He went down to South Bend and worked on more of his game, continued to try to impact the little things, whether it's with his legs or the bat or on defense. Just a guy that's here to win. He came in my office just a little bit ago and just was like, 'Hey, I'm here. Whatever you need, let me know.'"

Worth noting
• Ross said that righty Tyler Chatwood's bullpen session on Saturday went well. Chatwood (10-day IL, back) and José Quintana (10-day IL, left thumb) are both options for Tuesday's start against the Tigers, but Ross added that the team still needs to discuss the plan with the pitchers.

• The Cubs have signed infielder Patrick Wisdom to a Minor League contract and assigned him to the South Bend site. The 28-year-old Wisdom has a .714 OPS in 41 career MLB games between stints with the Cardinals and Rangers in '18-19, playing first and third base.

• To clear room on the 40-man roster for Miller, the Cubs transferred right-hander James Norwood (right shoulder) to the 45-day IL from the 10-day IL.

"If Ian's swinging the bat well and he's going to be the leadoff guy, wherever I've got to go to play, I'm up for that. It's a challenge hitting leadoff. All the guys out there that have been able to do it and embrace and have been able to do it before, I've really seen first-hand just how tough it can be." -- Bryant, on whether he is willing to move down in the order if Ross wants to keep Ian Happ in the leadoff spot