Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant will have off-day Friday, could play Saturday

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Spending time away from the club in which you helped win a World Series may be tough. After nearly a month, one Chicago Cubs phenom is on his way back.

There has been plenty to rave about this year for the Chicago Cubs. But for others, not so much. Injuries hit this team hard in 2018, claiming Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Addison Russell, Brian Duensing and Kris Bryant.

Darvish signed with Chicago to fill Jake Arrieta‘s spot in the rotation. It just hasn’t worked out according to plan as he’s out for the remainder of the season. Morrow, on the other hand, emerged as the sledgehammer Joe Maddon needed.

Shortly after Morrow landed on the disabled list, Bryant soon followed with shoulder discomfort. This resulted in a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs where he was all smiles.

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Bryant, 26, has missed a month of big league action, going 0-for-4 in his last appearance for the Cubs back on July 23. He had only 10 hits all of July, a season-low. Yes, he had six in March but the Cubs played just three games that month.

Despite Bryant’s absence, Chicago’s offense has managed to keep the train rolling. With the additions of Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy, this club remains in first place. Now, they hold a four-plus game lead over the Cardinals leading into the weekend.

Life is great, just need to stay the course, and all is well until it’s time for October baseball. Last night, outfielder Jason Heyward was removed from Thursday’s makeup game with the Braves.

One up, one down

Heyward injured his hamstring while attempting to make a diving play in the fifth inning. There is currently no timeline for his injury, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In addition to the follow-up of Heyward’s injury, Bryant will rejoin the Cubs as they begin a weekend battle with the Philadelphia Phillies on the road via the Chicago Sun-Times.

So, if Heyward ends up becoming another disabled list visitor, could we see Bryant return on Saturday in the outfield? Possibly. The 2016 National League MVP has swatted 11 homers with 44 RBI while slashing .276/.380/.854.

His 11 home runs leave him in fifth on the team behind Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Ian Happ. An early return could very well provide a surge of power for Bryant with around 30 games left to play.

Remaining schedule

After this weekend, the Cubs will have five Central series sets in the final month. On Monday, they’ll travel to Milwaukee, continuing their road trip leading into Washington. This is all part of a 12-game stretch to begin September before an off-day on the 13th.

Again, leading into an important division series with the Reds. Meanwhile, Cincinnati and the Cardinals do battle while Milwaukee visits Bryce Harper and the Nationals.

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If there’s a time Chicago wants to gain more ground in the division, it’s this weekend. Set the tone for the remainder of the season, and clinch yet another division title.

Prepare for what is expected to be a thrill ride to the finish line.