Cubs manager David Ross said Kris Bryant is available off the bench for Thursday’s series finale against the Cardinals and will start Friday’s opener against the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field.
“He’s feeling better today,” Ross said pregame Thursday.
Of course, he said the same thing Wednesday,
“I’m not lying to you guys this time,” the Cubs skipper joked.
Ross actually didn't find out that Bryant was unavailable until just before Wednesday's game, after having already talked to reporters. He is out of the starting lineup Thursday for the second straight game with right hamstring fatigue.
That didn’t stop social media from going into overdrive when Bryant conspicuously remained on the bench by the end of a 3-2, 10-inning loss, including speculation that brought trade rumors into the mix.
Ross was asked whether the upcoming trade deadline is a consideration in whether Bryant plays. He’s one of the team’s top trade chips.
“That has not been a factor,” Ross said.
Bryant hasn’t played since leaving Tuesday’s win over St. Louis in the fifth inning. Ross had mapped out a day off for him Wednesday but expected him to be available off the bench while possibly starting Thursday.
Ross has said in recent days Bryant has been dealing with “heavy legs.” The club is being cautious with the All-Star third baseman-outfielder.
“I've learned valuable lessons in this scene of having somebody sit out a day or two is much better than 10 to 15 to 20 to a month,” Ross said.
“I trust in the player to tell me when they’re ready,” Ross added. “I talk to them, but I trust in them to tell me, ‘All right I’m ready to go.’
“When I know before the game they’re unavailable, I trust that they’re unavailable.”
Cubs option Sergio Alcántara, recall Trevor Megill
Prior to Thursday's game, the Cubs recalled right-hander Trevor Megill from Triple-A Iowa and optioned infielder Sergio Alcántara in a corresponding move.
This marks Megill's fourth stint with the Cubs this season. He adds a fresh arm to a bullpen that has carried a heavy workload this week against St. Louis, tossing 11 1/3 innings in the three games.
Megill has allowed six earned runs in five appearances (three innings) this season.
Infielder Matt Duffy, who was eligible to come off the 60-day injured list Thursday, could be in line to rejoin the Cubs for Friday's series opener against the Diamondbacks.
Contributing from St. Louis: Gordon Wittenmyer