Bryant in right field is the most notable change in Joe Maddon’s lineup, but the Cubs have a much different starting eight with Dexter Fowler getting another day off and Madison Bumgarner on the hill.
Kyle Schwarber is starting behind the plate with Matt Szczur in center and Jonathan Herrera at third base.
Cubs batting order for Thursday: Chris Denorfia LF, Kyle Schwarber C, Kris Bryant RF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Starlin Castro 2B, Addison Russell SS, Matt Szczur CF, Dan Haren P and Jonathan Herrera 3B.
Bryant has not seen time in right field at the big league level this season. Bryant played center at the end of Wednesday’s game and has played both left and center field this year. Bryant has started one game in left and played a total of 10 innings. Bryant also started a game in center and has played a total of 11 innings in center field this season.
With Jorge Soler likely sidelined for a month, Joe Maddon is looking for options in the outfield especially against left handed starting pitchers. Many scouts feel Bryant would be a better fit long term in right field with Jorge Soler moving to left. It is rather interesting Bryant is playing right field today and not Chris Denorfia.
Javier Baez is expected to be recalled Tuesday when the roster expands on Sept. 1. Baez has been back at third base this week as he prepares for his call-up. Exposing Bryant to the outfield again only makes sense in order to help Maddon keep the most productive players in the lineup. Baez is expected to be used in a utility role when he is recalled.
Dexter Fowler had X-rays on his right shin. Fowler fouled a ball of his shin Tuesday and is dealing with nagging injuries to his hand and shin. X-rays came back negative on both but his hand was wrapped during his pinch-hit appearance Wednesday night.
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