Bryant exits game with flu-like symptoms

Bryant exits game with flu-like symptoms

CHICAGO -- Even the best ones get sick.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant left Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Dodgers after two innings because of flu-like symptoms. The rookie, who has started every game since he was called up from Triple-A Iowa on April 17, struck out in the first and did not return on defense after the second. Bryant has thrived at Wrigley Field, batting .324 following the game.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

The Cubs began the game short-handed because shortstop Starlin Castro was at a Chicago hospital for the birth of his second child. Addison Russell started at shortstop and Jonathan Herrera was at second, but Herrera moved to third when Bryant was pulled. Chris Denorfia shifted from center to left to replace Chris Coghlan, who moved to second, and Matt Szczur entered to play center.

Additionally, Dexter Fowler has been limited because of a sprained left ankle.

"[Bryant] felt bad before the game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Starlin's not here, he's got the flu, Dexter is on one leg and you have all these different subplots going on."

There was some social media drama as well. When Bryant left the game, rumors started to fly on Twitter that the third baseman had been traded.

"That's just the world," Maddon said. "I kind of giggle at that stuff.

"With all due respect to the fans, unless I was running for mayor, I'd be worried about what they have to say a little more," Maddon said. "It's about what we think right now. All the social media and all the components that create all the stir, it's probably kind of fun. ... For me, I think if it accelerates interest in our game, I'll take it. Other than that, I really don't pay attention to it."

For the record, Bryant is very much a Cub.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.