At the very least, it brought into question whether he’d be back in the lineup Thursday as originally planned.
And that might be the least of the questions with barely a week to go until the trade deadline.
Bryant and backup catcher Robinson Chirinos were the only position players left on the Cubs bench in the 10th inning of a 2-2 game. With Jason Heyward due up and the go-ahead run on second base, St. Louis brought in lefty reliever T.J. McFarland.
Manager David Ross countered with Chirinos to pinch hit.
“He wasn’t available,” said Ross postgame of Bryant, not offering any further details.
Bryant was out of Wednesday’s lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game early with right hamstring fatigue. Ross described him as having “heavy legs,” Tuesday night. He was expected to be available off the bench while possibly returning to the lineup Thursday.
The reality that can’t be dismissed is the deadline coming up could influence how hard you push Bryant, one of the Cubs’ top trade chips.
Chirinos flew out to center field to end the top of the 10th and stayed in to play second base — for the first time in his career. Patrick Wisdom moved from third base to right field, his third career outfield appearance, and Yadi Molina’s walk-off hit sailed over his head.
It’s tempting to make the case the game wouldn’t have reached extra innings if Bryant was available to play. The Cubs went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position until Javy Báez’ single moved automatic runner Anthony Rizzo to third in the 10th.
Even then, Rizzo made a baserunning gaffe, getting into a rundown that killed their chance to score in the 10th.
“As a group, we left some guys stranded early on that we should have got in,” Ross said. “We shouldn’t have been in that situation, to be honest with you.”