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Rockies’ Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies

Apr 20, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant (23) breaks his bat on a single in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER -- Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago and is eyeing a minor league rehab assignment as soon as next week.

Bryant had a cortisone injection in Arizona on Monday that has speeded his recovery from pain in his lower back.

“I think I’ve had three of these before in different areas and I wasn’t really a believer in them,” Bryant said. “Doing one in the back obviously wasn’t very comfortable, but hopefully I get a lot of relief from it. And so far, so good.”

Bryant spent about 15 minutes before Friday’s game against Kansas City doing some running and throwing in the outfield. He then took swings in the cage for the first time since he last played April 25 against Philadelphia.

“No problems, so that’s a good sign. He’ll do that again (Saturday) with a little more activity and increase the intensity,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Probably increase the number of swings as well. Probably go out and practice some defense as well. Probably do a little bit of that on Sunday morning as well, and then we’ll assess where he is.

“But it’s a good sign he’s back on the field and doing all baseball activities. He’s getting closer.”

Black said it was likely Bryant would go on a brief minor league rehab stint before returning to the lineup.

Bryant, who signed a seven-year, $172 million free-agent deal with the Rockies in March, is still looking for his first home run with Colorado. The four-time All-Star and 2016 NL MVP is batting .281 with four RBIs. He’s struck out 12 times in 57 at-bats.

Bryant was upbeat as she spoke in the dugout after his work on the field.

“Obviously I wasn’t trying too hard but everything felt good,” he said. “It felt quick, arm feels good.”