Cubs' Bryant to start Opening Day? Kind of

Maddon crafts creative answer to burning question

Cubs' Bryant to start Opening Day? Kind of

MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant has impressed Cubs manager Joe Maddon so far this spring.

"He's solid, he's motivated," Maddon said Sunday of the Cubs' top prospect. "He's got a really nice way about him. He's really good, he knows he's really good, but he carries that very well. I like that. False humility doesn't do anything. It's kind of a worthless quality. I think his humility is sincere, but he also knows that he's good."

After batting .325, hitting 43 home runs and driving in 110 runs at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Bryant is very close to getting to the big leagues. Will the third baseman be ready for the Cubs on Opening Day?

"Somewhere," Maddon said, smiling. "There's all kinds of Opening Days."

Maddon on top prospect Bryant

• Part of Sunday's drills included work on rundown plays. They will do so at least two more times this spring, Maddon said.

"Today was just a basic, 'Let's talk about the concepts and principles behind it,'" Maddon said. "They've heard it a thousand times. I promise you most of them have forgotten about it. You bring out the runners with high energy and that's how you really see it and the weaknesses exposed."

• Cubs pitchers scheduled to throw live batting practice on Monday include Felix Doubront, Eric Jokisch, Hector Rondon, Zac Rosscup, Brian Schlitter, Pedro Strop and Drake Britton. Several of them will do so at Sloan Park, where the Cubs' projected regular lineup took batting practice on Sunday.

"I like the varsity in the stadium," Maddon said. "The varsity has earned the right to be in the stadium. The JV's are trying to get to the varsity field. I like that. I'm a capitalist even when it comes to learning how to become a baseball player. I'm not into socialism or communism."

• Daniel Bard, who has not pitched in the big leagues since 2013, threw a bullpen early Sunday. Bard is trying to come back from undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome in January 2014.

The Cubs, who open the Cactus League season with split-squad games on Thursday, will not play an intrasquad game.

• Former Cubs pitching coach Dick Pole was in Mesa on Sunday. Pole, who started coaching in the Cubs organization in 1983 and joined the big league staff in 1988, was in Arizona to attend the funeral service for Wendell Kim, who passed away recently. Kim was the Cubs' third base coach in 2003-04.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.