Pitching Picks It Up, Bryant's Mental Game, AAA Homer Spike, and Other Bullets

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Pitching Picks It Up, Bryant’s Mental Game, AAA Homer Spike, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

A little over a year ago, I had surgery on my left foot to address a longstanding issue from a 15-year-old college injury. It took almost a year to fully recover (well, at least better than it was before), and I was really happy to be past it.

… now my right foot is really, really bothering me. When I run or otherwise vigorously exercise, the outside of the foot flares up in really significant pain – and sometimes I feel it just walking around. I’m trying a variety of shoes, hoping it’s just some flukey thing caused by a bad combination of shoes, but because of the experience with the other foot, I’m probably irrationally worried that something is seriously effed up and I’m gonna have to go through another long process. Which means I’m being a stereotypical idiot and avoiding going to the doctor to get it looked at.

  • As you wake up this morning, say congrats to the first place … Pittsburgh Pirates:

  • I doubt anyone thinks that will last, but it is impressive just how good that pitching staff has been –  their 2.63 team ERA is MORE THAN A HALF A RUN better than any other staff in the NL. Moreover, it’s right there with the Tampa Bay Rays (2.50), and no one can shut up about how incredible their pitching has been. And, to be sure, the Rays pitching HAS been incredible, so the Pirates probably deserve a lot of early-season, small-sample love.
  • Also: 10 of the 54 runs they’ve given up as a team came in a single game by the Cubs (the home opener).
  • I guess the key was having Jon Lester get injured:

  • I kid, of course, because Lester was performing the best of the group at the time he got hurt. But it’s been nice to see in any case, and as soon as Kyle Hendricks starts locating his fastball, things could be truly groovy in the rotation.
  • Relievers Tony Barnette and Junichi Tazawa threw in games in Arizona Wednesday (TCR), so it’s conceivable that they could be approaching minor league rehab stint/assignment time. Barnette is on a big league deal, while Tazawa is on a minor league deal.
  • Rehabbing lefty Xavier Cedeño made his Tennessee Smokies debut last night, and, uh, gave up four earned, managing just a single strikeout before he was pulled. Hey, it’s rehab for a reason, right?
  • Great stuff from Sahadev Sharma:

  • It sounds like Bryant is trying to keep his head in the right place as he works through this early-season slump (Cubs.com): “Just mentally, just at the plate, not trying to do too much, not try to think too much. It’s crazy. I feel like as I continue to play more and more, I feel like we put more and more pressure on ourselves just to go out there and perform, when it should be going the other way. That’s where I’m kind of at. Just chill, take it easy, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Go out there, see the ball and hit it. Put a good swing on it. After that, you can’t control what happens.”
  • I’m sure it’s especially challenging to approach this in the best way possible for a guy who, outside of a few games here or there, has never done anything but dominate at baseball, at every level, his entire life. And then the shoulder injury happens last year, and some struggles come. Then, a slow start this year, and it probably leads to some questioning of yourself – it would only be human. But the talent is still there, and it always will be. There is not yet any good reason to believe Bryant will not be Bryant in time.
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
  • If you notice home run rates spiking at AAA this year, it is probably because they started using the MLB baseball:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.