When he was hit in the head by a 96 mph fastball on Sunday, the first thought about Kris Bryant was a very general and very urgent one: I hope he’s OK. Like, OK in the sense of no life-changing injury. That’s scary stuff.
The second thought, after Bryant was moderately ambulatory, was that I hoped he didn’t have a serious concussion. Some level of concussive effects seemed virtually certain, given the way the pitch looked and his reaction. The third thought was that I just hoped he didn’t miss too much time … but also didn’t come back too quickly.
So, that’s kind of the emotional backdrop to the way things have actually played out, which featured an initial update that Bryant did not have a concussion and was basically OK. He then travelled with the team to Cleveland, indicating a belief that he would probably play last night or tonight. But then we didn’t really hear much, and Bryant did not play last night and isn’t starting tonight.
None of this is unexpected given that initial moment of fear, but the way it has happened to play out makes it feel more … I don’t know … quease-inducing? Things were so pleasantly optimistic right away that I probably let myself forget for a couple days just how serious a fastball to the head can be.
Here’s your update for now on Bryant, who will not play tonight, but hopefully will tomorrow:
It was essentially decided yesterday that KB wouldn't play today. They're giving him another day to be cautious and will continue to monitor the situation. No official change in his status as of yet.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) April 25, 2018
Cubs still being cautious with Bryant. They decided to give him another day off just to be sure. Still no symptoms of concussion but no point in pushing it.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) April 25, 2018
#Cubs are still monitoring Kris Bryant, who is supposed to see team doctor tomorrow in Chicago and might return to lineup that night in a best-case scenario. Joe Maddon: “I really anticipate good soon. If anything went the other way, I think we’d be surprised.”
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) April 25, 2018
Kris Bryant will see the Cubs team doctor on Thursday when they return home from their road trip looking for some final clearance to play. At the same time, Joe Maddon said it was "pretty much" up to Bryant when he returns as he's missed almost 3 full… https://t.co/aK4i8ctWXi
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) April 25, 2018
Again, those are all good and fine statements about a guy who took 96 mph off the dome just a few days ago. I have no issue with how the Cubs are proceeding here, as far as we can tell, and I think Bryant’s long-term health definitely has to be the focus. Head injuries can linger and – in an unfortunate turn on Maddon’s quote – they can surprise.
Here’s hoping Bryant’s visit with the doctor tomorrow goes well, that he feels normal, and that he’s back in there without any issue tomorrow night. That’s the best case, as of right now. So if Bryant is out again, that doesn’t necessarily indicate any more reason to freak out than we already have.
If Bryant does show concussion symptoms, and if the Cubs elect to hold him out much further, he could go on the 7-day concussion DL, backdated to Monday. He’d be out through the weekend in that case, but the Cubs would be able to get another player in the house. Of course, Ben Zobrist is eligible to come off the DL in a few days, so that’s also a consideration.