Cubs

Cubs: Kris Bryant feeling better and blocking out Twitter noise

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Cubs: Kris Bryant feeling better and blocking out Twitter noise

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.

[SHOP CUBS: Get a Kris Bryant jersey right here]

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.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

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AP

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: