Bryant day to day after rolling ankle on third

Bryant day to day after rolling ankle on third

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs will know Thursday whether they need to add Kris Bryant to the growing list of players on the disabled list.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, Bryant had to leave Wednesday night's 8-4 loss to the Nationals in the fifth inning with a mild to moderate right ankle sprain suffered when he stepped awkwardly on third base. X-rays were negative.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey struggles, Bryant hurt in loss to Nats

Lackey struggles, Bryant hurt in loss to Nats

WASHINGTON -- A day after the Nationals' offense relied on its speed and stole a team-record seven bases, it broke out its power Wednesday night against the pitcher who has given up the most homers in the National League. Washington hit three home runs off Cubs right-hander John Lackey -- increasing his total to 24 homers allowed -- to cruise to an 8-4 victory at Nationals Park.

Stephen Strasburg turned in one of his sharpest outings of the season as he tossed seven innings of three-run ball and struck out 13, the third-highest strikeout total of his career.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Epstein, Maddon: Montero release necessary

Epstein, Maddon: Montero release necessary

WASHINGTON -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., watching the team's Class A team, when he got a text message from general manager Jed Hoyer late Tuesday about Miguel Montero's comments regarding Jake Arrieta. It didn't take long for Epstein to decide what to do.

On Wednesday, Montero was designated for assignment after criticizing Arrieta's ability to hold runners during the Cubs' 6-1 loss to the Nationals.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs return to White House before tilt vs. Nats

Cubs return to White House before tilt vs. Nats

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs made their second trip to the White House this year, presenting President Donald Trump with a No. 45 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard as well as a gold-lettered jersey on Wednesday.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, his brother, Todd -- who was a candidate for deputy commerce secretary -- and general manager Jed Hoyer joined manager Joe Maddon and more than a dozen players.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Epstein's swift response to Montero on point

Epstein's swift response to Montero on point

That didn't take long, did it? Reading comments from Miguel Montero after the Nationals' seven-stolen-base track meet on Tuesday night, it was clear there would be blowback from the Cubs.

But to eat a little more than $7 million and designate a 12-year veteran for assignment in favor of a second-year catcher, making an already incredibly young team even less experienced? That's hardcore. Yet opting for that route with Montero -- most likely to release him, as it's hard to imagine anyone claiming him or trading for him -- was also the exact right move by Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester, Ross to wrap up Cubs' visit to DC

Lester, Ross to wrap up Cubs' visit to DC

The Nationals and Cubs will finish their four-game series Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, wrapping up a week in which fans caught a glimpse of a potential postseason matchup.

The Nationals entered Wednesday with an 8 1/2-game lead in the National League East. The defending World Series champion Cubs entered one game behind the first-place Brewers in the NL Central.

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Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero DFA'd by Cubs after comments

Chicago calls up prospect Caratini from Triple-A Iowa

Montero DFA'd by Cubs after comments

WASHINGTON -- Miguel Montero, who criticized pitcher Jake Arrieta after Tuesday's loss to the Nationals, was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the Cubs. Montero thanked the city of Chicago and his teammates for their support via some farewell messages on Twitter.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called Montero early Wednesday with the news, and the veteran said he wasn't surprised.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo reacts to Montero's comments

Cubs catcher, since DFA'd, blamed Arrieta for Nats' seven steals

Rizzo reacts to Montero's comments

WASHINGTON -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo reacted to the comments catcher Miguel Montero -- who was designated for assignment on Wednesday -- made after the Nationals stole seven bases in their 6-1 win over Chicago on Tuesday.

"It's frustrating," Rizzo said during an interview on Chicago radio station ESPN 1000. "Whenever anyone steals seven bases, Miggy gets frustrated. It's the second time barking in the media and not going to his teammates. As a veteran like he is, you'd think he'd make smart decisions about it."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero expresses frustration after Nats swipe 7

Arrieta walks 6 as Washington runs freely on basepaths

Montero expresses frustration after Nats swipe 7

WASHINGTON -- The box score from Tuesday's Cubs game is ugly. The feeling in the clubhouse was worse. Max Scherzer had as many hits as he allowed. Two Cubs errors led to two Nats runs. Washington stole seven bases against Jake Arrieta, who walked six in an abbreviated outing.

"A lot of the damage was self-inflicted -- the walks, stolen bases, a couple errors," manager Joe Maddon said. "It was a non-Cub-like game on the field. ... We hurt ourselves."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sloppy game out of character for Arrieta, Cubs

Sloppy game out of character for Arrieta, Cubs

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals exploited a Cubs weakness and ran wild on the basepaths Tuesday night, setting a Nats record, and tying the franchise mark, with seven stolen bases to add another dimension to their top-ranked offense.

Washington's running game combined with another strong performance from Max Scherzer led the Nats to a 6-1 victory in a matchup of the past two Cy Young Award winners in the National League.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant, Harper pose for photo together in Vegas

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Bryant, Harper pose for photo together in Vegas

Las Vegas is quite the town: Flashing lights, world-class shows and a couple of native-son MVPs. Yes, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant both hail from the desert oasis, though they've also both moved on to even brighter lights in The Show.

Still, they will always feel linked by their hometown pride, as evidenced by this photo Harper shared on his Instagram Tuesday night:

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Hendricks throwing, targets post-break return

Rizzo back at leadoff, likely to stay; Zobrist continuing rehab work

Hendricks throwing, targets post-break return

WASHINGTON -- Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks resumed his throwing program on Tuesday, playing catch from 90 feet, but he is still wearing protective tape on his right middle finger. The good news? Hendricks felt normal.

The right-hander is on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right hand. He threw Saturday and Sunday in Miami, then took Monday off before playing catch on Tuesday, saying "it felt 100 percent normal."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs scout Lockhart thankful for support for son

Cubs scout Lockhart thankful for support for son

ATLANTA -- Former Major Leaguer Keith Lockhart has expressed appreciation for the outpouring of prayers and support that have been directed toward his teenage son, who is attempting to recover from a life-threatening, freak accident that occurred during a June 17 game played in South Carolina.

Multiple reports have indicated Jason Lockhart, 15, was crossing home plate when he was struck in the face with the ball the opposing catcher was throwing back to the pitcher. He immediately received stitches and was diagnosed with a fractured nose. When the teenager's nose began excessively bleeding two days later, he was transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. He underwent surgery, but doctors later found the fracture had cut an artery.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

You can Javy it all! Cubs dazzle on D, get W

Statcast of the Day: Shortstop makes 2 spectacular catches, adds RBI double

You can Javy it all! Cubs dazzle on D, get W

WASHINGTON -- Javier Baez flew, hit, ran, struck out, slid, and dazzled on Monday night.

Starting at shortstop in place of injured Addison Russell, Baez added to his personal highlight reel with two defensive gems, and the Cubs needed all of his acrobatics to preserve a 5-4 victory over the Nationals.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs withstand Nats' late rally to win opener

Cubs withstand Nats' late rally to win opener

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Cubs have hovered around .500 this season, the Nationals are treating this four-game series as a measuring stick against the defending World Series champions. And this scene at Nationals Park is serving as a potential postseason preview, with the National League East winner currently on track to match up with the winner of the NL Central in October.

Their first meeting Monday night was a thriller, as the Cubs staved off a furious ninth-inning comeback from the Nationals to hang on for a 5-4 victory. Chicago led the game from the first batter thanks to a leadoff homer from Willson Contreras, while sparkling defense from Javier Baez and stellar pitching performances helped hold the Major Leagues' top-ranked offense scoreless for eight innings.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

That's a first: Contreras starts game with HR

Replacing Rizzo, Cubs catcher goes deep in only experience batting in leadoff spot

That's a first: Contreras starts game with HR

WASHINGTON -- Willson Contreras couldn't remember ever leading off a game in his baseball life. He won't forget his debut at the top of the Cubs' order on Monday.

Contreras, inserted into the No. 1 spot against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez, launched a 3-1 pitch to left for a leadoff home run, the fifth this season by the Cubs. Chicago added on, posting a 5-4 victory over Washington in the opener of this four-game series.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Give Cubs a final All-Star Ballot boost

Bryant, Rizzo, Heyward among those in mix for NL starting spots

Give Cubs a final All-Star Ballot boost

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs' Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward need some votes this week in order to start in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which will be played July 11 in Miami.

Bryant has received 1,978,692 votes in the latest Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot update, released Monday, while the Rockies' Nolan Arenado is close behind with 1,920,610. Bryant is bidding for his second consecutive fan-elected start, while Arenado is trying to become the first Rockies third baseman to earn a fan election.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schwarber singles in last AB in Triple-A debut

Schwarber singles in last AB in Triple-A debut

Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber made his first Minor League start with Triple-A Iowa, batting third and playing left field in a 1-0 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.

Schwarber didn't have much success at the plate, striking out in each of his first three at-bats. In his fourth and final time up, however, Schwarber crushed a line-drive single off the wall in the eighth inning.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper not pleased with Baez robbery

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Harper not pleased with Baez robbery

The Cubs and Nationals began a four-game series at Nationals Park on Monday night, and it didn't take long for something flashy to happen. In the bottom of the third in the Cubs' 5-4 win, Bryce Harper laced an outside pitch from Eddie Butler toward left-center field, surely destined to land in the gap for an extra-base hit. 

But instead, Javy Baez -- playing shortstop in the absence of Addison Russell while he deals with a shoulder issue -- did this. 

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Cut on Heyward's hand needs time to heal

Cubs not taking chances with Russell; Zobrist works out, while Hendricks rests

Cut on Heyward's hand needs time to heal

WASHINGTON -- Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is making slow progress regarding the cut on his left hand, saying Monday that it still needs time to heal.

"I'm not to the point where I can do everything swinging yet," Heyward said. "I can't take full [batting practice]. It's getting better every day, but until it gets to the point where I can swing every day, I have to do a little more healing."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon feeling no pressure in ASG duties

Cubs manager planning to enjoy himself with Midsummer Classic 'purely an exhibition'

Maddon feeling no pressure in ASG duties

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs' Joe Maddon, who will manage the National League team in next month's All-Star Game, isn't looking at stat sheets as he tries to fill out the roster.

"There's nothing about the game other than to organize it," Maddon said Monday of his duties for the the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which will be played July 11 in Miami.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs chip away, can't capitalize on chances

Cubs chip away, can't capitalize on chances

MIAMI -- Martin Prado lined a two-run double in a three-run first inning and Giancarlo Stanton provided insurance with his 20th homer in the seventh as the Marlins edged the Cubs, 4-2, to split a four-game series Sunday at Marlins Park.

Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna continued his All-Star worthy first half by roping a single to knock in Ichiro Suzuki to ignite the first-inning rally. Two batters later, Prado collected his first two RBIs since coming off the disabled list on Friday.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Marlins on Sunday.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo choked way up on his bat before singling

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Rizzo choked way up on his bat before singling

Anthony Rizzo doesn't care how he gets on base. Sure, he enjoys crushing home runs, and doesn't mind hitting them from the leadoff spot, but unlike other sluggers, Rizzo uses every tool available to him. 

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Cease throws four scoreless for South Bend

Cease throws four scoreless for South Bend

Logan Ice put together one of the best offensive games of his young career and led Class A Lake County to a 15-6 win over Dayton on Sunday.

Ice, the Indians' No. 21 prospect, put together his first career two-homer game and finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a career-high seven RBIs.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs rally in Miami on Lester's milestone day

Cubs rally in Miami on Lester's milestone day

MIAMI -- Check the Marlins off the list for Jon Lester. The veteran left-hander, who hadn't faced them much in his career, was winless against Miami until Saturday afternoon. Lester overcame a sluggish three-run first, regrouped and was dominant for the rest of his seven innings in the Cubs' 5-3 win at Marlins Park.

In four previous career starts, Lester was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 22 innings against the Marlins. The 33-year-old has now beaten 29 of the 30 big league clubs. The lone team he hasn't beaten are the Red Sox, the club he broke in with and has never faced.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Baez's hitting maturation on display

Sticking with approach, infielder delivers opposite-field, go-ahead two-run double

Young Baez's hitting maturation on display

MIAMI -- Going with the pitch seems like the most basic of strategies, but for a young player still learning his craft at the highest level, it's not as easy as it appears.

But Javier Baez continues to work that key approach, and it paid off Saturday. The infielder sparked an 11-hit Cubs attack with a pair of run-scoring hits in a 5-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon rests Rizzo, talks keeping Cubs fresh

Manager has seen clubs 'exhausted' in September, tries to find balance

Maddon rests Rizzo, talks keeping Cubs fresh

MIAMI -- How do you justify and when do you know it's the right time to give one of the hottest hitters in baseball the day off?

That's a decision Cubs manager Joe Maddon said was not a difficult one at all when he made out Saturday's lineup card sans Anthony Rizzo. The hot-hitting leadoff man didn't start against the Marlins, but he did pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the 5-3 win, lining out before playing first base in the bottom half. Rizzo has now played in 73 of Chicago's first 74 games.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.