In recent weeks, as Kris Bryant’s rehab picture has grown clearer, the plan sure seemed to be something like (1) get him some at bats against live pitching with his new swing, (2) get him in some rehab games at Iowa, and (3) call him back up to the Majors on or shortly after September 1st, when rosters expand to include everyone on the 40-man.
But from the sound of it, we may get to see Bryant back with the Cubs even sooner than that: “It’s kind of really up to me, just kind of how I feel,” Bryant told Cubs.com after his second game with Iowa last night, “but three, four games [in the Minors] I think would be great.” Three or four games total, eh? And you’ve already played two games, EH?
One second, please …
I THINK THAT MEANS SOMETHING GOOD.
If Bryant is really looking to return after just 3-4 games in the Minors we could see him back *as soon as tomorrow.* The Iowa Cubs have a double-header today (he very likely won’t play in both games, but he’ll surely play one (which would be his third)) and a 12:08 pm game tomorrow. Even if he wants to get the full four games, he can be back with the Cubs in Philadelphia on Friday. And as much as I’d like to see him back tomorrow, I think sparing him the extra travel for one game in Atlanta would be fine.
In other words, I say let him play that fourth game tomorrow – especially because it’s so early in the afternoon – and give him a day and a half to get himself to Philadelphia, where he can start fresh with a new series. That way you get him an extra tuneup game, spare him a couple flights, and make the roster crunch one day shorter. Because if Bryant comes up tomorrow or Friday, someone will have to “head to Iowa” (only not really) for 1-2 days until September 1st.
The Cubs could choose David Bote, but not for anything other than position logistics, a very short turnaround, and maybe some good old fashioned seniority. Otherwise, maybe the Cubs go short in the bullpen for a day? Might be hard to pull off given today’s whacky logistics of the resumed game.
Long story short: if you can get Bryant back for even a single game in August, it’s worth making the roster work.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way … how did that second game in Iowa go? Must’ve gone well, otherwise Bryant must just really like hanging out in Iowa.
— Dylan Heuer (@dylan_heuer) August 29, 2018
This is nice. pic.twitter.com/lwmu00fcbL
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) August 29, 2018
After going hitless as the DH (plus a walk and a couple of hard hit balls) in his first rehab start on Monday, Bryant notched his first hit (a single) since returning last night and also added a couple of walks and scored a run. Perhaps more importantly, Bryant also played third last night and was, by all accounts, just fine out there.
There’s also a lot of talk (some of it from Bryant!) about his new swing – which finishes with both of his hands still on the bat – being something of a “game-changer” for the Cubs third baseman, and I definitely wouldn’t put it past him, but I’ll just be happy to see him out there as his usual self again: “But just in terms of how I feel now in practicing that way, I feel like I’m hitting the balls a lot harder, squaring up a lot more pitches. Hopefully, it’s a game-changer for me.”
Leave it to Bryant to use his time off to make adjustments. Just get back soon, my man. Maybe we’ll even see ya this weekend.