Kris Bryant returns to Cubs lineup in penultimate game


Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is back in the starting lineup Saturday against the White Sox.

Bryant, who's hitting fifth and playing third base, exited Monday's game against the Pirates in the second inning with lower right oblique tightness.

The Cubs exercised caution with Bryant's oblique, slowly testing it as the week progressed. Friday, he took swings in the batting cage and ground balls, reporting positive feedback to Ross.

"After yesterday’s work, I think he felt really good," Ross said Saturday. "Talking to him after the game last night, he wanted to be in there today."

Bryant's return gives him two games worth of at-bats to face live pitching before the postseason. The Cubs, who can clinch the division with a win Saturday, will play their first playoff game next Wednesday.

The Cubs also have some parameters set up for Bryant and others to face live pitching to get at-bats before Wednesday, if needed.

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Bryant, who's also dealt with ailments to his left wrist and ring finger, back and left elbow, is hitting .195 with a .583 OPS in 32 games this season. But there's no understating how important his presence is to the Cubs' lineup entering October.

"I’m excited he’s back," Ross said.

Here's the rest of Saturday's lineup, against Sox rookie Dane Dunning:

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