Chicago Cubs rookie sensation Kris Bryant will get his first start in the outfield in this afternoon’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bryant, who played exclusively at third base in the minors, got a taste of the outfield last night after Dexter Fowler left the game with a groin injury. With Fowler still out of the lineup, Bryant will get the start in center field.
Here is the lineup as posted on the Wrigley Field scoreboard.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 23, 2015
Bryant is once again in the cleanup hole, and will look to continue his torrid hitting. Following a three strikeout debut, Bryant is 9-for-18 with four doubles, six walks, and a 1.362 OPS. He is still waiting for his first Major League home run after hitting 55 in 181 minor league games.
There had been much speculation that Bryant’s ultimate defensive position would lie somewhere in the outfield, although such a move was not expected to come quite so soon. Bryant made 21 errors at third base in the minors last season, and had already made two for the Cubs in only six games. Besides the Cubs obvious manipulation of Bryant’s service time, his defensive abilities were a contributing factor to the team’s decision to start him in the minors this season. Today’s move to the outfield is not likely to be permanent at this time, but down the road, it is a real possibility. At 6-foot-5, Bryant is likely more suited for a corner outfield position rather than center field, but necessity dictates he play there in Fowler’s absence.
Chicago Cubs fans can only hope that Bryant’s first start in the outfield does not include a play like this one from Monday’s game against the Pirates.