By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Two days after spraining his pinkie finger, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is out of the lineup as his team hosts the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Bryant expressed relief that he wasn’t injured worse after sliding head-first into third base in the first inning of a win at Atlanta on Wednesday. His finger bent awkwardly, but X-rays were negative.
Bryant is considered day-to-day, but his status for the entirety of this weekend’s three-game series is in jeopardy because he can’t sufficiently hold a bat at this juncture.
“He is just not ready today,” manager Joe Maddon said Friday. “Right now this is a day-by-day thing. If I had to guess, not tomorrow and possibly Sunday too. I really don’t know for sure.
“He has soreness, it is just sore. He just can’t grip the bat properly.”
Bryant is hitting .275 with 19 homers, 40 RBIs and 61 runs. He sustained an ankle sprain prior to the All-Star break but healed quickly, missing only two games.
“We had good luck with him after he hurt his ankle,” Maddon said. “We did not expect that to heal that quickly, but it did. So I am not trying to jump to conclusions right now.”
Friday will mark the seventh game of the season that Bryant misses. That’s the same number he sat out in 2016, when he won the National League MVP award.
Javy Baez will play third base in place of Bryant. In another change, outfielder Jason Heyward will lead off for the Cubs.
First pitch is at 1:20 p.m., and the game can be heard on 670 The Score. Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez opposes Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta.