Bryant's versatility on display in outfield stint

Cubs summon infielder Candelario as 26th man for doubleheader

Bryant's versatility on display in outfield stint

DENVER -- Kris Bryant has a National League Rookie of the Year Award and a NL MVP Award on his resume over his first two seasons in part due to the versatility that has kept him in the lineup and contributing on a daily basis. Though he had started every game of the season at third base in 2017, he got a chance to showcase his outfield chops for the first time in Game 1 of Tuesday's twin bill with the Rockies.

In his career, Bryant has played 88 games in the outfield, 10 at first and one at shortstop, in addition to his primary hot-corner duties. Manager Joe Madden called the chance to play right field a "vacation" for Bryant.

"Perfect, I'll take a vacation," Bryant joked before Tuesday's series opener. "It's a change of scenery. I like going to the outfield, just because it changes up my mind a little. I wouldn't say it's relaxing, but you're not involved in every single play."

Coors Field has an expansive outfield, but Bryant was up for the challenge, chasing a DJ LeMahieu fly ball into the right-field corner beside the high out-of-town scoreboard for the second out of the game.

"He's a really good outfielder," Maddon said. "I'd even put him in center field, quite frankly. I don't have any reservations. You have this huge expanse out there, but I'm always worried about tall walls. Whether you're going to play along the wall, how you get to the wall, how you jump against the wall, knowing when to get off the wall, all those things are different."

Calling up Cubs

The Cubs called up infielder Jeimer Candelario for the second game of the day-night doubleheader as the 26th man permitted in such scenarios. Candelario is hitting .340 (31-for-97) at Triple-A Iowa with 12 doubles, three triples, four homers and 22 RBIs in 28 games, leading Maddon to identify him as at "the forefront" of the young players still coming from the Cubs' farm system.

"Sometimes guys like that force you to do things," Madden said. "He's tearing up Triple-A. That's what you got to do to be a big leaguer -- tear up Triple-A. Primarily from his perspective, he just needs to keep doing what he's doing and let us make the decisions."

The Cubs had previously called up right-handed reliever Dylan Floro on Monday to take Jason Heyward's spot on the roster and provide immediate pitching help had a game been played Monday, following the 18-inning marathon vs. the Yankees on Sunday night that exhausted the entire bullpen.

"At Spring Training, you could see he's got a very good arm," Maddon said of Floro. "He normally puts the ball on the ground, which could be helpful here. I like his arm. Good guy, bright."

As for Heyward, who sprained a finger on his right hand and went on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday, Madden expects him back when he's eligible on Monday.

"Speaking with him and talking to the docs and trainers, I expect minimal time on the DL," Maddon said. "I'd be surprised if it's any longer than that."

Fifth man

The double dip will force the Cubs to use a fifth starter in their rotation, which could have initially survived Brett Anderson's trip to the DL because of off-days Thursday and Monday. Jon Lester is likely to be pushed back to Saturday after his 120-pitch outing last time out, meaning the Cubs will need an arm Friday.

"We've discussed alternative plans," Madden said. "We're not ready to divulge all these secret meetings we've been having. The Code of Silence has been in use the last several days."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Cubs on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.