Bryant: Reaching 100 RBIs 'tremendous' relief

Bryant: Reaching 100 RBIs 'tremendous' relief

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' Kris Bryant was relieved on Tuesday. After finishing last season with 99 RBIs, he got his 100th -- as well as No. 101 -- when he hit a two-run homer on Monday night against the Pirates.

"It's a tremendous sense of relief knowing I can go out there and play now," Bryant said, admitting he was pressing to get to the century mark.

He reached the stat by hitting his 39th home run. Doesn't he want 40?

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"That would be cool," Bryant said, "but RBI is my favorite stat, and that's what I pressed about. Forty homers would be cool."

Bryant will give teammate Chris Coghlan his meal money for the seven-game trip since he scored the 100th run. He had made a deal before the game with Coghlan, who was leading off on Monday.

"I've got all the money in my wallet," Bryant said. "He's taking it. I even told him, 'You're taking my money.' I'm a man of my word."

The fan who retrieved the home run returned it to Bryant, who only had to give him an autographed ball.

"I cherish those moments more than a trophy that I have," Bryant said.

Bryant wasn't the only one who was relieved -- so was manager Joe Maddon.

"I told him the other day, 'Just sit at 99 -- it gives you something to shoot for next year,'" Maddon said, half-joking. "We all were [relieved]. We named that baby."

Since Bryant arrived in the big leagues, he's had to deal with expectations, and in his second season, he has topped his freshman numbers. He's still not satisfied.

"Looking back to last year and building off it this year, I could say I should be, but for me, it's never going to be good enough," Bryant said. "I'm so stubborn and so hard on myself. There's always going to be ways for me to look at my game and say, 'I could do this better.' It's always going to be like that."

Bryant did not start Tuesday, part of Maddon's plan to give the regulars a breather heading into the postseason. The Cubs will open the National League Division Series on Oct. 7 at Wrigley Field against the Wild Card Game winner.

"I'm looking forward to the four days off [before the playoffs begin]," Bryant said. "That will be great -- just kind of decompress before the craziness starts and the most fun time of the year. Enjoy those days and get ready to go."

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.