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.”
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.