Freakout avoided...for now: Cubs receive good news on Kris Bryant's hand

Freakout avoided...for now: Cubs receive good news on Kris Bryant's hand

UPDATE: X-rays came back negative on Kris Bryant's finger and the Cubs can breathe a huge sigh of relief for now.

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The good vibes didn't even last a week for the Cubs.

After five straight wins to open the second half of the 2017 campaign, Kris Bryant was removed from the Cubs-Braves game after the top of the first inning.

He slid headfirst into third base and his left hand hit the shoe of Braves third baseman Johan Carmago.

Here's the full play:

Bryant remained down on the field for some time in between innings and was immediately replaced by Tommy La Stella:

Here is the slow-mo of the play. You can see the pain flash across Bryant's face immediately:

Bryant had doubled with one out in the inning.

The reigning NL MVP was not named to the All-Star roster last week, but is hitting .275 on the season with a .401 on-base percentage and .528 slugging. His .929 OPS ranks 22 in baseball and 16th in the NL.

If he's forced to miss time, that would be a huge blow to the reigning World Series champs.

Hand/finger injuries have been sweeping across baseball this year, knocking out the game's top players. Angels outfielder Mike Trout missed nearly two months with a torn ligament in his thumb and Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa just hit the disabled list Wednesday with the same injury and figures to be sidelined until at least mid-September.

Cubs finally starting to see ‘wins don’t just happen because you’re talented and you show up’

Cubs finally starting to see ‘wins don’t just happen because you’re talented and you show up’

WASHINGTON – If the Cubs hadn’t just won the World Series less than eight months ago – and Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon didn’t already have Hall of Fame resumes – this indictment would sound a lot like the team president putting the manager on the hot seat.

“I don’t think we’ve found our edge yet that we’ll need to play with to win games,” Epstein said after dumping veteran catcher Miguel Montero. “Wins don’t just happen because you’re talented and you show up.

“You have to come to the park with an edge every day and come together as a team every day and play to win. You have to play with a certain edge that we’re striving for as a group.”

It would look a lot like this 5-4 comeback win on Thursday at Nationals Park: Jon Lester delivering as the $155 million ace, a B lineup scraping together a two-out, three-run, ninth-inning rally against an awful Washington bullpen and Wade Davis slamming the door on a first-place team.

There are only so many buttons left to push and Epstein clearly wanted to rattle the clubhouse, because Jake Arrieta isn’t the sensitive type and didn’t really care about or disagree with Montero’s scathing comments about his inability to control the running game.

But for all the drama so far, the Cubs are 4-4 on a road trip that began with the Kyle Schwarber-to-Iowa news and now a game over .500 as the season nears the halfway point this weekend in Cincinnati.

“We’ve never been able to get on a roll, and with that comes that edgy kind of a feeling,” Maddon said. “We’ve underachieved offensively. And our starting pitching has not been as good as we thought. So we’ve been playing from behind a lot. It’s hard to create edginess under those circumstances.

“We’re missing some folks from last year, and we’ve been injured a little bit. So, again, I understand the comment. And to a certain extent I totally agree with it. But it’s not for a lack of effort or lack of caring.”

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With reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant resting a sprained right ankle, Jeimer Candelario launched his first big-league homer in the seventh inning off Joe Ross and started the ninth-inning comeback when Blake Treinen’s 99-mph fastball smashed into his left knee (the X-rays were negative).

“We got some underclassmen playing right now,” Maddon said. “We’re breaking in that group, so it’s different. It’s hard to accuse these guys of not quite getting it, because they’re still trying to figure some stuff out.

“There’s a difference from last year to this year, I think. And, again, in spite of all the maladies to this point, thank God we’re in this division right now."

The Cubs are running out of shock-value moves – and not playing like a team that will force the front office to pick up rental players or win an insane bidding war for a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Whatever that “edge” is, the Cubs will either find it and have Wrigleyville rocking in October or slowly turn this into a developmental season.

“We’re right there,” said Lester, who gave up one run in six innings and got the no-decision. “The record and the way we’ve been playing is not ideal. We all can admit to that here in this clubhouse.

“But at the end of the day, we’re one (Milwaukee) loss away from being in first place. That’s what you’re playing for during the season – to make the playoffs – no matter how you get in.”

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on DL, will undergo MRI

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on DL, will undergo MRI

Cubs manager Joe Maddon hinted at the possibility of the Cubs shutting down Ben Zobrist earlier this week.

The Cubs did just that on Friday as they placed Zobrist on the 10-day disabled list with left wrist inflammation and recalled Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Iowa.

In addition to going on the DL, Zobrist will get an MRI as he's been dealing with a sore wrist over the last few weeks.

“It’s just not getting better,” Zobrist said on Wednesday. “It’s effecting my ability to prepare, and then my ability to feel comfortable at the plate. I don’t want to put the team in that situation."

Zobrist, a three-time All-Star, is slashing .223/.321/.394 with seven home runs and 21 RBI in 54 games this season.

La Stella, who was with the Cubs for 16 games before being sent down for rookie Ian Happ last month, was hitting .213 with one home run at Triple-A.

The Cubs begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates on Friday night.