Bryant likes challenge, but could live without leading off for Cubs
When he eventually returns from an injured left wrist, Kris Bryant said he'd gladly give up the leadoff spot in the batting order if anyone else wants it. Ian Happ took over the job when Bryant left
"Yeah, absolutely. Riz (Anthony Rizzo) was saying the leadoff spot here is cursed," Bryant said Sunday. "I've embraced the challenge and honestly I've kind of enjoyed the challenge. If Ian's swinging the bat well and he's going to be the leadoff guy, wherever I've got to go to play, I'm up for that."
Leading off was something new for Bryant and he is off to a rough start this season, batting .177 when he went on the injured list. Whether batting leadoff has anything to do with the poor production is anyone's guess, but Bryant admitted the job has been a challenge.
"I've really seen firsthand just how tough it could be," he said. "You feel like you're hitting every single inning and if you're going good, that's great, but if you're going bad it's like, 'Oh man, here's another at bat to figure it out.' It's a mental grind for sure.
"I wouldn't say you try to be someone you're not, but just that first at-bat of the game is strange. You haven't really seen the pitcher get into his pitches. Since Dexter (Fowler) left, we've had a lot of people attempt to lead off. When Dexter was here, it was kind of like he would see all the pitcher's pitches his first at-bat and it really gave you that comfort hitting after him.
"That's what makes a leadoff hitter really good. I'm attempting to do that and be that type of player. It's been difficult. I've embraced the challenge and I'm always up for a challenge."