A sore shoulder.
That’s all it’s taken for too many Chicago Cubs’ fans to start worrying and playing the what-if game with star prospect Kris Bryant, who has been on an absolute tear so far this spring. Between that and the ridiculous “questions” over whether or not he’ll open the year on the big league roster, suffice to say that the young slugger has made his share of headlines in the last month.
Bryant, the front office and first-year manager Joe Maddon have all been stressing the same point – there’s no reason to rush the recovery process.
"“At the end of the day, there’s no reason to rush any of this,” Maddon said. “If it goes back to Friday, it’s not going to bum me out.”"
The Cubs’ number two overall prospect has not appeared defensively in Cactus League action since last Thursday – although his bat has showed no signs of weakness, as he’s raised his batting line this spring to a robust .435.500/1.304 line – including half-a-dozen homers and nine RBI.
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Last season, Bryant racked up countless awards – including the Minor League Baseball Player of the Year honors after he led all of MiLB with 43 home runs and 111 runs batted in between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. This year, he appears destined to open the year in Des Moines – at least for a brief stint – as the team looks to slow the service time clock on the prized prospect.
We’re not even going to delve into that – because it hardly warrants discussion right now – but the shoulder soreness has generated enough attention itself.
"“I think I’ll be out there pretty soon,” Bryant said. “We’ve made some good progress with it. I’m not worried about it.”"
Since the Cubs selected him with the second overall pick in 2013, the Las Vegas native has not missed a beat, rocketing through the minors while emerging as a consensus top-five prospect in the game. In one-and-a-half professional seasons, Bryant owns a 1.095 OPS – enough to leave Cubs’ fans salivating at the thought of him in the Windy City.
But, for now, it’s about taking a week to recover and prepare for the long-haul. The Cubs will need Kris Bryant down the stretch if the team wants to make a run at the postseason and if a few missed games this spring puts him in a better position to contribute this year, then so be it.