Cubs' Maddon says Bryant isn't showing signs of stress

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
 
Updated 7/14/2015 10:45 AM

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo headed to Cincinnati and the All-Star Game festivities after Sunday's series finale against the White Sox.

It has been quite the whirlwind for Bryant since he came up from Class AAA Iowa to make his major-league debut April 17.

 

Manager Joe Maddon does not see it wearing on the rookie.

"He's out there every day," Maddon said. "It's something new for him, to be under this kind of microscope. And all of a sudden, he's an all-star. So there's a lot going on there. Sometimes I think he just looks like he's upset with himself … He's got that high level of expectation. If he's not meeting that, he doesn't like it.

"I'm very much aware that that's going to happen, that he's going to have his hard times. It's going to be difficult and he's going to look like a first-year player on occasion. Of course he is, because that's what he is. In those moments, it's up to us as a staff to help guide him through that."

Sitting in the dugout with reporters before the game, Bryant said he's doing fine.

"I feel good," he said. "My body feels fine. When you play every day, you get into the routine of playing every day and taking batting practice and grounders and throwing every day. So I feel fine.

"Any at-bat in the big leagues is a mental grind. There are a lot of people watching you and a lot of people cheering for you. I don't feel that you have to go up and hit a home run every time."

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Speaking of home runs, Bryant and Rizzo will take part in the Home Run Derby on Monday. Maddon isn't thrilled about that, but on balance he says the whole experience should be good.

"The upside is to be involved there, and then there's, 'I'm one of the best. I've actually been asked to come to this thing because I'm one of the best baseball players in the world,'" Maddon said. "There's an element of confidence that can be derived from that, too."

Catch this:

The Cubs activated catcher David Ross off the seven-day concussion disabled list and optioned outfielder Mike Baxter to Iowa.

They're still awaiting results on the MRI taken of catcher Miguel Montero's left thumb. Montero jammed the thumb Saturday and showed up wearing a large wrap Sunday.

"I'm hearing the initial evaluation -- it could be not so bad, and then it could be bad," Joe Maddon said. "We're waiting to hear back, the test results. We'll use the all-star break to try to assess where we're at and how we want to move forward in the second half."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Taylor Teagarden started Sunday with Ross as the backup. Any discussion about the Cubs' catching situation is going to include top prospect Kyle Schwarber, who was up last month, primarily to DH in American League parks. Schwarber was MVP of Sunday's Futures Game in Cincinnati.

"Of course it could be, but for right now we have not gotten to that point," Maddon said. "Schwarber's always under consideration for what we're doing in the future. I don't know exactly how he's been playing or what we think of him as a catcher right now."

Coming out of the break:

The Cubs resume play Friday in Atlanta followed by a series in Cincinnati. The pitching rotation will be Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta for Atlanta. They'll be followed by Clayton Richard and Jason Hammel. Richard's turn was skipped in the rotation after his July 4 start, and Hammel is nursing a hamstring injury.

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