Chicago Cubs hopeful Bryant will be back Friday

The Chicago Cubs remain hopeful they can activate third baseman Kris Bryant from the disabled list Friday, when they open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

Bryant has been on the DL, effective June 23, with left-shoulder inflammation. He was eligible to be activated Tuesday, but it's been a slow go, and the Cubs hope Thursday's off-day in the schedule buys Bryant more time.

"It's pretty much just been day to day," manager Joe Maddon said. "I talked to him at length this morning. Still feeling it, like we had talked about. But it is better than it had been.

"I spoke with him before he was with PJ (athletic trainer Mainville), so I'll get that report afterward tomorrow, on the off-day. I don't know if they have anything planned for that. Then probably some kind of a retest on Friday. I don't know the answer to that except that he did say he's feeling better."

A talk with Yu:

Joe Maddon said he finally was able to sit down with pitcher Yu Darvish, who recently received a cortisone shot for an impingement in his right elbow. Darvish has been on the DL, effective May 23, with right-triceps tendinitis.

He threw a simulated game at Class A South Bend but felt discomfort and went to Dallas for a second opinion.

"We had a great conversation," Maddon said. "I've not known him for a long time, but it's really easy for me to speak with him and I think for him to speak with me. So it's straight up. We're trying to derive plan to get him back out there as soon as possible. It's a communicative thing - "How you feeling? Tell me what you're thinking right now,' and he did.

"It's a matter of everybody getting on the same page and moving it forward. I did tell him how eager we are to get him back, how important it is for us getting to the playoffs and winning the World Series. Having him be part of this is pretty darn important. So I wanted to really re-emphasize that to him."

Maddon said he did not believe Darvish would have to "start over" again because he is in good physical shape and has arm strength.

There is still no timetable for Darvish to appear in a big-league game.

Caratini back, Gimenez out:

The Cubs recalled catcher-infielder Victor Caratini from Class AAA Iowa and designated backup catcher Chris Gimenez for assignment.

Caratini, who opened the season with the Cubs, batted .262 (17-for-65) with 3 doubles and 4 RBI in 26 games before being optioned to Iowa on May 25.

"Yeah, it was a little tough at the beginning," Caratini said of being optioned. "But I just decided I would get 100 percent and try to get back up to the big leagues as soon as possible.

"I feel really good. I got a lot of playing time down in Iowa. Just feeling good. Ready to go."

Big moment for Bote:

Rookie infielder David Bote hit his first big-leage home run in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Tigers. It was a solo shot to center field in the second.

"It's fun, great atmosphere again today, and to do it in Wrigley is pretty cool," he said. "I didn't know if it was going to be the silent treatment or what. I was trying to keep a straight face around the bases. I saw (teammate Kyle) Schwarber with his arms up and going crazy. You couldn't help but smile."

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