When he put his head down after being easily thrown out at third base and stayed on the ground, I thought he was just frustrated that the inning was over.
When he started checking his finger, I thought perhaps he’d jammed it a little.
When he doubled over in obvious pain, I was nervous.
When he went straight into the clubhouse and didn’t re-enter the game, I nearly panicked.
When I saw the replays from the Atlanta broadcast that showed the closest angle, I felt a sense of surprising and relative calm. Because I knew in that moment that Kris Bryant was going to be out a while, and at least I could start getting comfortable with that idea.
And yet, we don’t play internet doctor for a reason, because somehow this did not result in a serious injury:
I still don't know how this is not a serious injury, but I'm thrilled that the news, so far, is good on Kris Bryant. pic.twitter.com/jCie37VwtI
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 19, 2017
I don’t know about you, but I see a ring finger and a pinkie separated horribly from where they are supposed to be, bending laterally in a way they are not supposed to. Go ahead and test it on your own hand. Actually, don’t. I did, and it hurt before I got even halfway there.
After the game, Bryant told Cubs.com that he “dodged a bullet,” fearing the worst after the slide. Catching a finger on a planted foot like that almost never ends up without a serious injury.
It’s possible Bryant, who was officially diagnosed with a sprained pinkie and is day-to-day, won’t even miss time, given that the Cubs have an off-day tomorrow. Even if he does miss time, neither he nor Joe Maddon are currently expecting a long absence. Which is freaking remarkable.
Then again, it wasn’t but a few weeks ago that we saw Bryant roll his ankle in a way that certainly looked severe, and yet he barely missed any time. Bryant says he usually responds well to treatment, and I say the guy is clearly Wolverine.
Joe Maddon all but confirmed Bryant’s mutant status.
“From what I understand, I don’t think it is anything debilitating or even a long period of time,” Maddon told Cubs.com. “He heals quickly, as we have seen with the ankle, and I don’t anticipate a long period of time.”
As always with these things, we’ll see how Bryant feels tomorrow and Friday – if the pain and/or limited motion lingers, that’s when you might have to start thinking about further tests. But if he feels better, then it does become plausible that he will once again miraculously escape significant missed time.
Given that the Cubs start a series against the Cardinals on Friday, that would obviously be ideal. I’ll guard my heart just enough to believe that Bryant won’t be back on Friday, but maybe at some point during the weekend.
If Bryant does wind up having to miss time, at least the Cubs can cover third base by simply giving guys already on the roster more playing time. No, a Javy Baez/Tommy La Stella/Ian Happ/Ben Zobrist/Albert Almora playing time increase combo is not the same as having Kris Bryant plus whoever isn’t playing on the bench, but it’s a lot better than having to grab a replacement player. It’s possible the Cubs would call Jeimer Candelario back up to see significant starts, but it’s also possible that Bryant going to the DL would just allow the Cubs to keep Tommy La Stella on the roster after Kyle Hendricks returns, without having to drop the bullpen down to seven.
Hopefully all of that is just an academic discussion, and Bryant won’t need to go on the DL. Because he’s Wolverine.