Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant took early batting practice Saturday and was cheered by the various tour groups in the stands after hitting home runs, at least one of which hit the videoboard in left field.
“I think we’ve gotten used to that,” Bryant said of the cheers. “I felt good today. (Friday) the rain messed us up. I was supposed to hit out there. I felt good today.”
Bryant has been on the 10-day disabled list, effective July 24, for inflammation in his left shoulder. He said that he’ll face rehabbing pitcher Drew Smyly Sunday during “live” batting practice before heading out on a minor-league rehab stint to Class AAA Iowa.
One interesting thing about Bryant’s swing is that he’s keeping both hands on the bat through the entire swing instead of releasing the top hand. That, he and manager Joe Maddon said, is to reduce the torque on the shoulder at the finish.
“I feel pretty normal,” Bryant said. “I’ve been doing a two-handed swing, which I actually think I feel even better. I’ve got to bring the contact point a little bit further back in my swing. Before I felt like I was really only hitting the ball with one-and-a-half hands connected to the bat, and now I actually feel like I’m hitting it with two hands. I think this is going to be pretty good for me.”
Maddon said he liked what he saw, adding that old habits die hard and that Bryant may go back to releasing the top hand when he gets into games.
“Wow, it was coming off hot,” Maddon said of the baseball. “Left-central. He hit a couple off the right side. Short to the ball. Really nice path to the ball. I can just tell by how he’s reacting how good he does feel. It’s a little bit different with the two hands. We’ve talked to him about that. Just go play. If the hand comes off, it comes off. Don’t intentionally try to keep two hands on the bat in the game.”
Feeling a part of it:
Second baseman Daniel Murphy said he feels welcome already with the Cubs since coming over in a trade with Washington on Aug. 21.
“I feel like I’ve been really comfortable, and that’s a testament to the organization, to the front office, to ownership, this clubhouse and the coaching staff,” he said. “They’ve made me feel extremely welcome, made my family feel extremely welcome. They’ve helped us every single way to make what I think could be a very difficult transition very seamless for myself and my family.”
Daniel Murphy has a .404 lifetime batting average at Wrigley Field. Could it be because he has brown eyes and the Cubs play a lot of day games?
“I feel like days games, if I’m able to get this old body going, I feel like I see the ball better during the day,” he said. “I don’t know, I’ve seen something before that people who have darker eyes happen to see the ball better in the day, and (players with) lighter eyes, they struggle a little bit. I’m pretty sure my eyes are pretty dark.”