Now that the Cubs officially are in sell mode as they operate the rest of the month toward the trade deadline, it’s even more important to protect potential trade assets such as Kris Bryant, who was out of the lineup again Friday because of an “achy” hamstring.
“I haven’t been told that we need to protect anybody or we need to look at things like that,” manager David Ross said.
OK, maybe not.
But Bryant’s day-to-day hamstring issue had him out of the lineup for a second straight day as the Cubs opened a three-game series against the rival Cardinals, after having left Wednesday’s game as a precaution.
Meanwhile shortstop Javy Báez, who appeared to be a two-day lineup scratch as well because of a sore thumb, fared well enough in pregame batting practice that he was added to the lineup just before game time Friday.
Ross didn’t have a timeline for Bryant’s return but said the additional downtime is not a sign that the hamstring is worse than originally thought.
“His words are more ‘achy’ than tight,” Ross said. “He already feels better every day. I don’t think it’s any kind of IL thing at this moment. I don’t think there’s anybody pushing to get MRIs or anything like that.”
He’s to be evaluated again before Saturday night’s game.
Cubs president Jed Hoyer on Thursday said what had become obvious during the club’s recent 11-game losing streak: that the club is prepared to sell at the July 30 trade deadline.
And while closer Craig Kimbrel and setup ace Andrew Chafin are the surest high-demand players to depart, Bryant — the club’s top offensive performer in the first half — might be the first championship core player to get traded since the team’s decline began in 2018.
But if it looks like the Cubs are being extra cautious with any day-to-day injury guys to keep them intact for trades, that has more to do with “my DNA” as a manager, Ross said.
“I’m always going to err on the side of protecting these guys when we can,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever pushed anybody out there in my short managerial time, that I felt we were running the risk of extra injury or being on the irresponsible side.
“The health of these players over the long course of 162 is important to our success. That’s the way I look at it.”
As Kris Bryant sat out again with an "achy" hamstring, Cubs manager David Ross said he's under no orders to protect possible trade assets.