Determined Bryant breaking out of early slump

Determined Bryant breaking out of early slump

MILWAUKEE -- OK, Kris Bryant isn't perfect. How do we know? The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner told Cubs manager Joe Maddon that he made a mistake on the basepaths when he was thrown out at home plate in the eighth inning against the Brewers.

The Cubs didn't need that run -- Bryant had driven in three in Saturday's 11-6 victory at Miller Park -- but he went up to Maddon immediately after the play happened.

"It was stupid baserunning," Bryant said. "[Third-base coach Gary Jones] told me, 'Make it go through,' and obviously, [Anthony Rizzo's ball] didn't go through. I take a lot of pride in my baserunning. It's always something. I told him, 'Sorry.'"

Maddon appreciated the effort, and the third baseman's humbleness.

"He came right up and says, 'I made a mistake,'" Maddon said. "It's so refreshing. They know when they've screwed up. You don't have to go get them. They know when they mess up, and they're highly accountable."

Perez cuts down Bryant at home

Maddon and the Cubs also appreciated that Bryant is no longer 0-for the start of the 2017 season. He began hitless in his first 14 at-bats and ended that skid with an infield single in the fifth inning on Friday that bounced off the third-base bag.

"I've never hit the bag, ever, my whole life," Bryant said. "The baseball gods were on my side with that one. ... I still don't feel anywhere near comfortable there, but it's nice to get the hits out of the way."

Bryant smacked a two-run double in the third for his first extra-base hit and RBIs of the season, added an RBI single in the fourth and knocked another double in the eighth. He's still working on his timing. It'll come. The Cubs have only played five games.

Bryant's two-run double

"You'll never see him [frustrated]," Maddon said. "Of course, I've seen him [frustrated]. He's like everybody else, he gets a little bit wide-eyed and huffy and puffy and all that stuff. None of us like to be frustrated. Am I concerned? Absolutely not. When he goes through a moment like that, I know you'll see him absolutely hot in the very near future."

Bryant, who belted 39 homers and drove in 102 runs last season while batting .292, doesn't take his frustrations out on strength and conditioning coordinator Tim Buss or his teammates -- at least as far as we know.

"Just get more determined," Bryant said of his approach when things don't go right. "I realize this is part of being a big leaguer is to deal with the 0-for-12 and the 0-for-13 and the bad stretches and know it will turn around because it always does. It's part of the learning process. I'm planting the seeds to keep learning and taking notes in the back of my head. For me, it's be more determined up there."

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.