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updated: 5/1/2016 6:54 PM

Bryant makes return after ankle sprain

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  • Video: Bryant on his injury

  • Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves Sunday in Chicago. It was Bryant's first game back after spraining his ankle last Thursday against the Brewers.

    Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves Sunday in Chicago. It was Bryant's first game back after spraining his ankle last Thursday against the Brewers.
    Associated Press

 
 

Kris Bryant was back at it Sunday for the Cubs.

He suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle last Thursday against the Brewers and missed Friday's series opener against the Braves.

Bryant tested his ankle on the field Sunday morning.

"It was very mild," he said of the sprain. "It was good to get a day off. It made everything speed up a little bit. Throw some tape on the ankle and everything will be fine."

A third baseman by trade, Bryant started Sunday in left field, with Tommy La Stella playing third. He says he prefers third base but that playing anywhere is fine.

"Yeah, I think third base is always going to be a position that I like the best just because I've played there the most and feel the best there," he said. "I'm slowly gaining confidence in left and feeling a whole lot more comfortable out there, in all the outfield spots."

Manager Joe Maddon likes the versatility.

"He's a flex guy," Maddon said. "He's definitely an everyday third baseman. I really believe that. Looking at today, it's a good day to get Tommy involved there at third base. It's Tommy. It's not so much that KB … he's turned into a really good third baseman. But it's a matter of getting all the pieces in and reshuffling it game in progress.

"A flex player is a good way to describe him (Bryant). And he's comfortable with it. That's the other thing. It's not like it's an issue for him whatsoever. It's not like you need to give him so much advance warning because he has to prepare himself. No, he's fine with it."

Not the cruelest month:

The Cubs finished April with a record of 17-5 before losing 4-3 in 10 innings Sunday to the Braves. The start through 22 games was the best since the 1907 Cubs went 18-4.

"I'd love to just keep doing that every month," Joe Maddon said. "I'd be happy with that. We played pretty well this entire month. It's hard to knock our guys right now, offensively, defensively or pitching. Baserunning's been pretty good. To be able to sustain all those components would be great."

The only downer, if there has been one, is that the hitters have not hit consistently. That may come if the weather ever warms up.

"I think you're going to see guys actually hit better," Maddon said. "That's an area I think you'll see more of. A lot of our offense has been based on some really good at-bats, some timely hitting. But to go out there and literally knock the cover off the ball, we haven't done that yet. So I think there's an offensive push that we're capable of. Pitching I'll take the same. Defense I'll take the same. Baserunning I'll take the same."

This and that:

Dexter Fowler went 2-for-5, collecting his team-leading 10th multihit game of the season. Fowler is batting .350 for the season … Matt Szczur bunted for a single as a pinch hitter in the eighth. He is 3-for-7 as a pinch hitter … Sunday's game marked the Cubs' first extra-inning game of the season.

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