Bryant dusts off first-base mitt as Rizzo rests

Bryant dusts off first-base mitt as Rizzo rests

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo got a "mini All-Star break" while Kris Bryant got a chance to break in his first baseman's glove on Friday.

Rizzo did not start for the first time all season in the opener vs. the Phillies and Bryant took over at first base, a position he played regularly as a freshman in college.

"I think I have good instincts," Bryant said before going 1-for-3 with a long home run in the Cubs' 6-2 win. "Hopefully, my glove is broken in."

Bryant did play first for one batter on May 18 in Milwaukee, and he made one start last Sept. 28 before moving to center field, right field and third base in the game.

Rizzo needed a break, manager Joe Maddon said. The first baseman was 3-for-35 on the Cubs' nine-game road trip, with one RBI. Another reason for the rest: the Phillies were starting lefty Adam Morgan and Rizzo is batting .149 against left-handed pitchers this year. Last season, Rizzo batted .294 against lefties. Despite not getting an at-bat, Rizzo did get into the game at first base, moving Bryant to left field.

"When a guy goes through scuffles, they're probably doing two things: Fouling their pitch off -- the one they can really normally drive -- and maybe chasing a little bit and putting pitches in play that they normally would not," Maddon said, adding he expected the two-time All-Star to "get toasty again" this season.

"It was a good time to give him his mini All-Star break and have him come back fresh [Saturday]," Maddon said.

• With all the maneuverings, it would seem the Cubs have a lot of guys out of position, but Maddon said there's not much drop-off.

"Looking at the lineup today, you see a bunch of guys in different spots, but I really like the defense a lot," Maddon said. "When you're able to move people around and give guys days off and still feel good about your defense, that's a good thing."

Maddon wanted Javier Baez at third because of his agility, and he preferred Bryant at first because of his size.

"I like how large [Bryant] is at first base," Maddon said of the 6-foot-5 Bryant. "He's big and a great target."

Jason Heyward also did not start Friday to take advantage of the off-day Thursday and get another chance to recuperate. Heyward suffered a contusion on his right side after colliding with the outfield wall in San Francisco last Friday. He missed three games and was able to return to the lineup Tuesday in St. Louis.

"I want to be a little bit cautious," Maddon said of Heyward. "Why press our luck right now?"

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for 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.