Montero eager to return to action

Montero eager to return to action

MILWAUKEE -- Catcher Miguel Montero, examined by a hand specialist in Chicago on Thursday, said he's ready to go. Manager Joe Maddon wants to check with the medical staff but expects that Montero will need some rehab games.

Montero has been on the disabled list since July 12 with a sprained left thumb. He's been rehabbing in Arizona, and hitting for at least a week there. On Thursday he underwent another MRI to make sure the thumb is healed.

Montero said that the doctors are taking a "conservative" approach, and he's eager to return to action even though the Cubs have added rookie Kyle Schwarber.

"My job is to go out there and play," Montero said. "When I'm in the lineup, the rest will take care of itself. Talking about how I'll have to battle and compete again to get my job back, I really [don't think so]. I'll do what I do and do whatever they want."

Montero has always worn a thumb guard, but now will wear a thicker one.

Kris Bryant did not start on Thursday as part of Maddon's plan to keep his players fresh. Of course, the last time Bryant did not start, he was called on to pinch-hit in the second inning and delivered a two-run single.

"I think sometimes it's necessary to take a little break physically and mentally and do things a little differently," Bryant said. "Take it slow, walk slow, eat slow, think slow, that kind of thing, to get you back in the groove again. I'll take it for what it is and get better today and any way I can help the team win, cheer them on, who knows? I might go in the second inning again."

Bryant was batting .249 overall, and .176 this month.

"I feel fine physically," he said. "I'm struggling a little right now. I've had some bad luck. I've hit some balls hard. Usually, when I hit a ball hard, you find a way to get a hit out of it. I'm energized, I feel good. I think I'm doing all the right things to take care of my body to prepare myself for a long season."

Is he prepared for an extra month of games?

"I'm young. I'm 23," he said. "Maybe in seven years from now, it'll be different."

• Schwarber made his second start in left field on Thursday, and Maddon said the rookie may even get some playing time at first base "as part of his graduate school studies." Being able to play multiple positions will help, especially when Montero does return.

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.