ST. LOUIS — Twitter started buzzing with conspiracy theories as soon as Kris Bryant left Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field, because the Cubs third baseman is one of the brightest young stars in the game and this is how it works in the age of social media.
To be clear, there were no “rumors” about Bryant getting traded or having a hangover. Just snarky comments and mindless speculation in the echo chamber after Bryant lasted only two innings while feeling flu-like symptoms in the middle of a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I don’t read anything on the Internet,” Bryant said Friday inside Busch Stadium’s visiting clubhouse. “I’m still here.”
Bryant, who has around 107,000 followers on Twitter, felt good enough to bat third in Friday’s lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals. He said he’s been feeling off since last weekend in Minnesota and had a similar flare-up with allergies last year.
Bryant left another game at Wrigley Field with flu-like symptoms last month — and Chicago is a tempting city for young players — but it’s almost impossible to question his professionalism at this point.
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People close to Bryant say he doesn’t drink. He handled the overnight fame that came with being drafted by the Cubs with the No. 2 overall pick in 2013. He understands all of his face-of-the-franchise responsibilities at the age of 23 and demonstrates a high baseball IQ. He keeps producing on the field and finding ways to contribute, whether or not he hits home runs.
As Bryant said: “I think if you know the type of person I am — and my friends and family and everybody in here knows who I am and what I believe in — a trade would be way more believable.”
Bryant also answers the bell, starting every game since getting called up from Triple-A Iowa on April 17, entering Friday with 10 homers, 42 RBIs and an .857 OPS. He doesn’t believe in needing days off or hitting the rookie wall.
“I’m good to go,” Bryant said. “I’m not too much of a fan of days off. I think they’re missed opportunities, so I don’t really like looking at it that way.
“If you take the right steps to get you to where you need to be, prepare, go to sleep at night, don’t stay out late, all those things, you can play. That’s how I go about this game.”