Bryant returns to Cubs lineup after injury

Finally, an AB for KB.

Be pleased, Cubs fans.

When Kris Bryant stepped in for an at-bat Tuesday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh for the Cubs' series opener against the Pirates, it marked his first game action since Aug. 17. The Cubs activated the third baseman/outfielder off the 10-day injured list before the game.

Bryant had been sidelined with a left ring finger sprain. While the Cubs entered action 3 games up on second-place St. Louis in the National League Central - the same as when Bryant officially went on the IL on Aug. 22 - they need the 2016 league MVP to be good at baseball again.

Bryant headed into the game hitting just .177/.271/.323 with 2 homers, and his 63 WRC+ ranked as one of the worst in the league. After he suffered his finger injury diving for a shallow fly ball against Cleveland, he had just 2 hits in his next 17 at-bats, before the Cubs finally shelved him.

Cubs manager David Ross penciled in Bryant as his No. 2 hitter against the Pirates, keeping the hot Ian Happ (.294/.417/.624) in the leadoff spot.

Ross called Bryant's Monday batting practice "really loud."

Monday marked the start of the final month of MLB's abbreviated regular season.

Roster overhaul

Besides Bryant, the Cubs also activated outfielder Steven Souza Jr. off the 10-day injured list before Tuesday's game. Infielder/outfielder José Martínez, outfielder Cameron Maybin and left-handed pitcher Josh Osich were added to the active roster. A day after acquiring Martinez from Tampa Bay, the Cubs got Maybin from Detroit and Osich from Boston before Monday's trade deadline.

The right-hitting Martinez made his Cubs debut Tuesday night, getting the starting nod at designated hitter and batting eighth against Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl.

To make room on the 28-man roster, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. was optioned to the South Bend alternate site, starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood (right forearm strain) was placed on the 10-day IL, and reliever Casey Sadler was designated for assignment.

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