Cubs

Kris Bryant returns to his roots ahead of Cubs series in Las Vegas

Kris Bryant returns to his roots ahead of Cubs series in Las Vegas

Before Kris Bryant kicks off only his second full season in the big legaues (hard to imagine, right?), he and the Cubs will visit Las Vegas to take on the Cincinnati Reds in a pair of exhibition games this weekend.

It's a homecoming for Bryant, who was raised in Vegas and attended Bonanza High School in the Las Vegas Valley.

That's where his baseball career began in earnest and also where he met his high school sweetheart, Jessica, whom he married in January.

Red Bull did a photoshoot with Bryant - who is spending a ton of time modeling now as a rising star and one of the faces of baseball - returning to his roots:

They also filmed a video touching on some of Bryant's favorite memories, like the time he pulled a Kyle Schwarber and nailed a car windshield with a homer.

What a week for Bryant, who also earned a spot on the Sports Illustrated 2017 season preview cover:

https://twitter.com/SInow/status/844164281130192896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chicagotribune.com%2Fsports%2Fchicagoinc%2Fct-kris-bryant-sports-illustrated-cover-20170321-story.html

And just for funsies, here's Bryant the day he signed with the Cubs in 2013 with new CSN Cubs pre/postgame analyst David DeJesus:

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior 'likely' to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior 'likely' to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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