It took a conversation with David Ross for Kris Bryant to accept the fact that he was out of the lineup on Wednesday.
“He tried to fight back,” Ross said, smiling, “and said he was fine.”
Bryant (left ring finger sprain) had returned from the injured list the day before. But after an 11-inning game Tuesday that included an hour-long rain delay, Ross rested Bryant at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, even though Bryant said he "felt ready to go."
Left fielder Kyle Schwarber and right fielder Jason Heyward, both regular starters, also got the day off.
"You look around the league and what's going on with these players' bodies in this unique season," Ross said, "I think it's important that we take care of these guys."
The Cubs are scheduled to play for two weeks straight, with a double-header against the Cardinals on Saturday.
As long as Bryant continues to feel healthy, Ross doesn’t plan on restricting his playing time moving forward.
“There may be some times every once in a while where I try to read that, like I do everybody else and see how they're feeling and talk to them,” Ross said. “But as of right now, this is strictly (based) on what happened last night.”
On Tuesday, Bryant played for the first time in two weeks. First a left wrist injection, and then a stint on the IL for a sprained left ring finger, held him out. Both he injured diving for a fly ball at Cleveland last month.
Brant started off his night Tuesday with a sharp line drive to center field, a good sign despite the fact that Cole Tucker caught it for an out. Bryant went on to make contact in all six of his at-bats, to both sides of the field, and get two hits.
“It's just more of a mental thing too, when you can go up to the plate and not have to worry about swinging and feeling pain,” Bryant said. “That's the biggest thing, and that was the goal of taking the time off, is to get to that point.”