Cubs

Decision time coming for the Cubs and Kris Bryant

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Decision time coming for the Cubs and Kris Bryant

Could we see Kris Bryant this weekend at Wrigley Field?

Team president Theo Epstein wouldn’t rule out that possibility as the Cubs play shorthanded at third base and Bryant nears the end of his service-time sentence at Triple-A Iowa.

“I don’t want to speculate,” Epstein said Tuesday. “It depends on what’s happening with the roster, what’s happening with his development.

“We don’t know yet. Every day, check in with the trainers, check in with the manager, check in with the development guys, watch the video, see where we’re at and put it all together.”

[MORE: Cubs: The wait for Kris Bryant could be almost over]

Bryant Watch is a daily thing now that the Cubs have burned through 10 of the 12 days needed to push his free agency back until after the 2021 season.

Injuries to Tommy La Stella and Mike Olt have forced questions about whether or not Bryant could make his big-league debut as soon as Friday against the San Diego Padres.

In the meantime, the Cubs placed La Stella on the disabled list with right rib cage inflammation and called up lefty Zac Rosscup from Iowa to bolster the bullpen before Tuesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cubs held Olt out of the lineup, elevating utility guy Jonathan Herrera and forcing outfielder Chris Coghlan to get in some extra work at his old position. The Cubs are still monitoring Olt’s wrist after the Opening Day third baseman got hit with a 96-mph fastball over the weekend at Coors Field.

In a perfect world, the Cubs would prefer to have Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect debut on the road, away from Wrigleyville’s three-ring circus. That’s why insiders have suggested next week’s trip through Pittsburgh and Cincinnati as a likely spot for Bryant to join the team.

But if the Olt situation drags out for a few more days…

“You rarely have a roster with 25 fully healthy guys,” Epstein said. “And some days you need more ‘pen protection. Other days, you need a position player. So we just kind of go day-by-day and assess where we are.

“As far as Kris, the whole point of sending him down was to let him get into a good rhythm. They’ve just started their season. He’s doing that. But you also have to pay attention to what’s going on with the big-league club.

“You can’t plan everything out the way you want it. We’ll just see what happens. But right now, we’re thinking about today’s game and the fact that an extra reliever would really come in handy.”

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Bryant apparently hasn’t experienced an emotional letdown since the Cubs made the business decision to send him to the minors. After dominating the Cactus League with nine homers in 40 at-bats, he’s gone 7-for-13 with two homers and six RBI in his last three games at Iowa.

It also sounds like Epstein isn’t obsessing over Bryant the way Cubs fans and the Chicago media are.

“There’s enough of that going around right now,” Epstein said.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs remain quiet on the trade market

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs remain quiet on the trade market

The Cubs Talk podcast comes your way from Day 3 of the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry joins David Kaplan. They reminisce about the day Hendry signed Ted Lilly before undergoing a heart procedure (1:00) and he discusses his new role working in the Yankees front office (3:00).

Plus, Kap asks him how much pride does he have seeing two of his draft picks — Javy Baez and Willson Contreras — become all-stars (10:00) and Hendry discusses the biggest trade that almost happened and how it would have affected the 2008 season (11:40).

Tony Andracki joins Kap with the latest Cubs news... or lack thereof (20:00).

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Expanded netting is coming to all 30 MLB ballparks, including Wrigley Field

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USA TODAY

Expanded netting is coming to all 30 MLB ballparks, including Wrigley Field

Protective netting at baseball stadiums has been a hot-button topic ever since a foul ball hit by Albert Almora struck a young fan at a Cubs-Astros game in late May.

Wednesday at the Winter Meetings, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that all 30 teams will have extended netting in place in 2020. Eight teams, including the White Sox, already installed expanded netting in 2019. Everyone else will now have to follow suit.

The White Sox had the netting go all the way to the foul poles, but that isn’t a requirement. Seven of the 22 remaining teams will go to the foul poles.

This means Wrigley Field is getting extending netting in 2020. It isn’t clear how the extended netting will be implemented at Wrigley Field, but it is coming to the stadium on the North Side.

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