Although he was eligible to come off of the disabled list a few days ago, we knew that Kris Bryant’s shoulder would keep him out longer than that. Last time around, he was out for a couple weeks, came back, and almost immediately was feeling the discomfort again, which sent him back to the DL. When the timeline goes like that, you figure a guy will definitely be out for more than 10 days.
But I will concede that I hoped Bryant would be doing some baseball activities by the two week mark. Alas.
Bryant last played for the Cubs exactly two weeks ago, but he’s still not swinging a bat, and told the Tribune he’s not yet sure when that will even happen. Instead, it’s still rest and strengthening exercises for the Cubs’ third baseman.
Trying to project the timing of a minor league rehab assignment – much less a return to the Cubs – is virtually impossible at this point, though Joe Maddon has said the return could come quickly once Bryant is ready to be doing full baseball activities again. In other words, I take it that the Cubs aren’t thinking Bryant will need a ton of minor league rehab activity (heck, he and they might not want him using up swings in that way anyway, assuming this isn’t an ailment that is going to go away entirely during this season). But that doesn’t mean his return will come quickly overall.
That said, it’s August 6, and the Cubs have a mere one-game lead in the NL Central. Thanks to David Bote’s impressiveness at the plate and in the field, the Cubs have had the luxury of being extra conservative with Bryant’s shoulder this time around. But if they’re really going to be what they can be, they need a returned and healthy Kris Bryant in the everyday lineup. If that can happen at least by September, I’ll feel some level of comfort.
That “and healthy” part is the real stickler, though. Bryant started dealing with the shoulder issue at some point in late May (he said it had been about a month back on June 26), and, from that point on, he hit just .248/.331/.369 (89 wRC+) in the 160 plate appearances he was able to take.
No one wants to see Bryant rushed back so that he can be only a shell of himself on the field for the Cubs. But we all do want to see him back.