Theo on Bryant: Some other time

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - Steve Green­berg

Cubs pres­i­dent Theo Ep­stein isn’t ready to talk about the fu­ture of All-Star third base­man Kris Bryant. Ep­stein isn’t even ready to talk wins and losses in 2020.

“Right now, it’s hard enough to pre­dict what to­mor­row or next week will look like,” he said. “It’s a fool’s er­rand, I think, to try to pre­dict what next year will look like or the next five years. That’s just the re­al­ity of the world we’re in.”

Re­al­ity? Here’s a bit­ter mouth­ful: Ev­ery team in the ma­jors is a house of cards right now. That in­cludes the Cubs, who are be­lieved to be the only Na­tional League team with­out a pos­i­tive test for COVID-19 among its play­ers.

There’s a lot of pride around Wrigley Field in how play­ers have ad­hered to health-and-safety pro­to­cols, but that and a bag of base­balls won’t buy them a mo­ment of breath­ing easy.

“We can’t al­low the good re­sults thus far to cre­ate the il­lu­sion for us that we’re in con­trol, be­cause we’re not,” Ep­stein said. “The virus is the only thing in con­trol right now.”

Bryant said this week that he hoped the Cubs wouldn’t trade him dur­ing a pan­demic and ex­pressed re­newed in­ter­est in speak­ing with the club about a pos­si­ble con­tract ex­ten­sion. He’s un­der con­tract through 2021.

Ep­stein isn’t there yet. “Hon­estly, I ap­pre­ci­ate Kris’ com­ments,” he said. “I know that he loves be­ing here, and he knows that we love hav­ing him as part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion . . . .

“[But] to delve too deeply into that and dis­cuss con­trac­tual sit­u­a­tions, it gets to a point where if you talk too much about it, it be­comes in­ap­pro­pri­ate given the re­al­i­ties of ev­ery­thing go­ing on in the world and where our fo­cus truly is right now. So there will be a time to dis­cuss those things later, but I per­son­ally don’t feel com­fort­able talk­ing about that right now.”

Off-the-wall night

Out­fielder Al­bert Almora left the sim­u­lated game Fri­day night at Wrigley Field af­ter crash­ing into the cen­ter­field wall.


It sure looked like it when Almora raced straight back on a shot by Bryant off Craig Kim­brel but was un­able to snare the ball be­fore his mo­men­tum led him into the ivy-cov­ered brick wall. Out­field­ers Kyle Sch­war­ber and Ja­son Hey­ward rushed to Almora, who re­mained face­down on the warn­ing track for about two min­utes as two train­ers and man­ager David

Ross tended to him.

Af­ter walk­ing about 25 feet toward the dugout, Almora, hat and glove off, went down to a knee for a few sec­onds, ap­pear­ing to col­lect him­self. Then — un­der his own power — he took a slow, gin­ger walk to the dugout, down the steps and into the club­house.

Not 10 min­utes later, word came from a Cubs spokesman that Almora had mildly bruised his ribs and could be back in ac­tion at camp on Satur­day. Not a minute af­ter that, Almora was stand­ing in the on-deck cir­cle with a bat in his hand. He walked to the plate and hit an RBI sin­gle.

Uh-oh? Guess not.

Rizzo still out

It was a third con­sec­u­tive day on the shelf for first base­man An­thony Rizzo, who has a sore back. There isn’t a lot of con­cern about him, ei­ther, though.

“Rizz is get­ting bet­ter,” Ep­stein said. “It seems like a mi­nor and very man­age­able is­sue, some­thing that he’s got­ten through in the past. He looks to be on that same timetable.”


Tyler Chat­wood saw enough of Sch­war­ber to last him awhile. The slug­ger home­red deep to right and added a two-run dou­ble that ended Chat­wood’s night.

Sch­war­ber, Will­son Contreras and Josh Phe­g­ley have two homers apiece in in­trasquad games since camp started at Wrigley. Af­ter the long one off Chat­wood, Ross met Sch­war­ber half­way be­tween the top dugout step and the on-deck cir­cle for an air-arm bash or some­thing of the sort. ✶


Vet­eran Ja­son Kip­nis, who played nine years with the In­di­ans, smacks a sin­gle dur­ing the Cubs’ in­trasquad game Fri­day night at Wrigley Field.


Kris Bryant

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