Brewers Reward David Stearns With Contract Extension, Promotion

One of Major League Baseball’s youngest executives will be staying with the Milwaukee Brewers for the foreseeable future.

Milwaukee officially announced a contract extension Wednesday for David Stearns, who also received a new job title with the extension. The 34-year-old Stearns was promoted to President of Baseball Operations, making him the first executive in franchise history to be named to such position.

This promotion prevents other MLB teams from hiring away Stearns from the Brewers, as there is no other position higher in an organization’s front office than the president title. Earlier this off-season, the San Francisco Giants were denied permission to interview Stearns for their open President of Baseball Operations job that went to former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Terms’ of Stearns extension haven’t been made public yet, and they likely will never be, but Brewers owner Mark Attanasio had the following to say in a press release from the team today about Stearns’ extension, and another promotion in the Brewers front office that dealt with Rick Schlesinger being promoted from Chief Operating Officer to Milwaukee’s President of Business Operations:

“David (Stearns) and Rick (Schlesinger) have developed processes and standards of excellence that are embraced by everyone in our organization,” Attanasio said. “David’s approach to acquiring, developing and retaining talent has been instrumental in our success, both on the field and in the front office, and we believe it has created a strong foundation that will continue to pay dividends in future years. On the business side, Rick’s commitment to elevate the Miller Park experience has led to one of the top fan environments in sports, and we see evidence of that in everything from attendance to growth in corporate partnerships. Together, David and Rick bring great vision to our leadership team. I congratulate both of them on their highly-deserved promotions.”

– Mark Attanasio, Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner

Stearns was first hired as general manager of the Brewers in October 2015, a job title he will keep in-addition to his new presidential role. Since replacing Doug Melvin as general manager, the Brewers have improved their win total every season under Stearns’ leadership, going from 73 wins in 2016, to 86 in 2017, and then 96 last season that lead to Milwaukee capturing their first National League Central Division title and playoff berth since 2011.

Star outfielder Christian Yelich was instrumental in helping the Brewers end their playoff drought, as he captured the National League’s MVP award by batting .326/.402/.598 with 36 home runs, 110 runs batted in, and 22 stolen bases. This made Yelich the Brewers’ first MVP award winner since teammate Ryan Braun in 2011. Stearns acquired Yelich via trade from the Miami Marlins last January, and he also signed outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million contract on the same day the Yelich trade was completed. Cain ended up making the all-star team and finished 7th in National League MVP voting.

This off-season has also contained a significant move for the Brewers, as they were able to ink former all-star catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year, $18.25 million contract with a vesting option for the 2020 season despite Grandal receiving multiple multi-year offers from at least five other MLB teams. In-addition to joining a lineup that features Yelich, Cain, and Braun, Grandal will be joining Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw in that same lineup. Both Shaw and Aguilar blasted 30+ homers last season, and were also both acquired by Stearns before the 2017 season.

The Brewers are hopeful that Stearns’ regime can provide the franchise with much needed sustained success. Milwaukee hasn’t made the playoffs in back-to-back years since 1981 and 1982, and after falling one win short of the franchise’s second-ever World Series berth last season, there will be great sense of urgency to get back to that point as soon as possible.

Reasoning Behind Antonio Brown Missing Monday’s Practice Unclear

Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown was not at the team’s practice yesterday,  per Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

There is no clear indication as to why Brown was absent from practice, and the absence doesn’t appear to be injury-related. It is very possible that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin simply excused Brown from the practice, but several Steelers sources told the Post-Gazette that they weren’t sure why Brown was not in attendance.

The six-time Pro Bowler was visibly upset on the field Sunday during the Steelers’ 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and left the locker room shortly after the conclusion of the game. He was held under 70 yards on 9 catches and did not find the end zone for a touchdown in the contest.

Perhaps Brown’s absence is related to a social media post he made on Twitter earlier yesterday when he responded to an ex-Steelers employee who said he would not be the same player if the Steelers quarterback wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger. The same former employee also suggested that it was Roethlisberger who helped Brown earn a four-year, $68 million contract extension with $19 million guaranteed that at the time made him the highest paid receiver in the NFL in February 2017.

Brown’s response was simply “trade me let’s find out.”

Roethlisberger, who appeared on his weekly radio show for 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, said he believes Brown doesn’t want to be traded. That is likely the case with Brown, but Roethlisberger also understands his frustration:

“I think it was just frustration, he’s a competitor and he wants to be the best in the world, and he wants to make every play and catch every touchdown,” Roethlisberger said about Brown. “He’s getting frustrated, he took it out on some people, I give Randy [former Steelers employee] credit for not losing it on him.”

The Steelers are off on Tuesday, but will return to the practice field on Wednesday in preparation for their Monday night game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are off to a 2-0 start led by veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Photo: Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Banged up Yankees Acquire Andrew McCutchen

Veteran outfielder and 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen has been traded by the San Francisco Giants to the New York Yankees, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The 31-year-old McCutchen, who cleared revocable trade waivers last week, will be traded away for two minor league prospects. This will be the second time in McCutchen’s career that he’s been apart of a trade transaction, as he was traded to the Giants by the Pittsburgh Pirates in January.

For the Yankees, bringing in McCutchen will provide some stability to a Yankees lineup that has been decimated by injuries as of late. Catcher Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are expected to return in the coming days from the disabled list, but the biggest bat of them all in superstar outfielder Aaron Judge is still without a timetable for return after breaking his wrist on a hit by pitch in late July.

Giancarlo Stanton himself is also banged up, as tonight he started his 83rd straight game for the Yankees despite battling a hamstring injury. Without Judge in the lineup, the Yankees have been using Stanton in right field, as well as Neil Walker and Shane Robinson. Robinson figures to be the odd man out when it becomes time to add McCutchen to the active roster.

In-order to keep Stanton’s hamstring injury from getting worse, Stanton has been the team’s designated hitter more times than not this month. Which means that McCutchen will likely play right field for the Yankees in the mean time, with Brett Garnder in left and Aaron Hicks in center field.

McCutchen is batting .255/.357/.415 with 15 home runs and 55 runs batted in on the year to go with a 115 wRC+, making him 15% better than the league’s average hitter. He departs what has been a disappointing year for the Giants following the organization’s decision to try and re-tool their roster rather than rebuild it this off-season after finishing with the worst record in the National League in 2017.

When Judge returns from injury and regains his spot in right field, expect McCutchen to slide into the designated hitter’s role with Stanton out in left field. If McCutchen plays the outfield for the Yankees in the playoffs, it’ll be either in center field or right field as five-time MLB All-Star has never fielded a big league inning at that position.

In the playoffs, New York will likely host the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game, as the Boston Red Sox have all but wrapped up the American League East division with a 8.5 game lead despite the Yankees having the second-best record in the majors.

Photo: John Hefti/AP

Remaining Optimistic About Yoan Moncada

The 2018 season for the Chicago White Sox season has been one to forget, and the same thing can be said for former top prospect Yoan Moncada.

Moncada, who came to Chicago from the Boston Red Sox in the massive December 2016 Chris Sale trade, entered the season with lofty expectations in his first full big league season. The results however, have been below league-average.

Moncada, who already has 183 strikeouts on the season to lead all of Major League Baseball, is on-pace to strikeout 225 times this season, which would be the most in a single-season by any player ever, surpassing Mark Reynolds‘ 223 whiffs in 2009. Now, while strikeouts in 2018 don’t mean as much as they did in 1956, there are other areas that are concerning when you assess Moncada as a player so far.

The 23-year-old Moncada is a switch-hitter, but hasn’t been a very good one in his career, especially this season, slashing just .183/.262/.296 as a right-handed batter this season, giving him just a .558 OPS. That means he’s seemingly losing all his power. Only two of his 16 home runs this season have came from the right side of the plate, and while the returns as a left-handed batter aren’t anything to ride home about, they’ve been considerable better with Moncada being the owner of a .233/.315/.428 batting line and a .743 OPS as a lefty.

Granted, the sample size for Moncada as a right-handed batter is much different than as a left-handed batter (404 plate appearances versus 131 plate appearances), but his strikeout rates suggest that Moncada is largely the same hitter no matter the sample size difference, as he has a 34.4% strikeout rate as a right-handed batter and a 33.6% clip as a left-handed one. All together, Moncada has a .698 OPS and a 34.2% strikeout rate, so where does the optimism come from?

Let’s take a look at the MLB leaders in strikeouts this season among hitters, with Moncada at the top of the list of course:

[table id=8 /]

Automatically, the assumption people make about players with high strikeout totals is that they swing out of the strike zone frequently, and try to swing for the fences more than times than not. While that assumption is true about some of these players, it is not true about Moncada.

Per FanGraphs, Moncada is one of the most disciplined hitters in baseball, as he only swings at pitches outside the strike zone 23.4% of the time. That 23.4% rate is tied with Carlos Santana and Lorenzo Cain, two players who have yet to strikeout 90+ times this season. However, both Santana and Cain make more contact on pitches inside the strike zone than Moncada, which is where part of the problem lays with the Cuban import. Moncada should be able to fix his strikeout woes at least a little bit by simply making more contract and refining his approach, but that of course is easier said than done.

Moncada’s hard hit rate is slightly down from last year at 41.4%, but his 33 barrels on the year have him tied with players like Alex Bregman, Kyle Schwarber, Jesus Aguilar, and Eugenio Suarez for the 45th most barrels in baseball, and Schwarber was the only player not to make the All-Star Game out of the four-player group, but he was apart of the festivities in the Home Run Derby before losing it to Bryce Harper.

Despite his barrels, Statcast metrics suggest that Moncada has been a bit of a lucky hitter this season, as based on his batted balls he has an expected batting average of .209. His actual average for the season is .221, so there’s not a major discrepancy, but it is still a noteworthy one. Moncada also has a similar problem that is common among young players, as he struggles to hit the slider.

The fastball and curveball are the two pitches Moncada has fair well with this season, but his numbers against the slider, cutter, and change-up are all below league average with the slider being the worst one, per Fangraphs’ pitch value stats.

Moncada’s defense has slipped a bit at second base this year as well, but it’s not any type of major drop off from what we saw in 2017. Going back on the good things about Moncada, very few players have better knowledge of the strike zone than Moncada in baseball, and that certainly won’t change anytime soon, and it’s very probable that only some minor mechanical changes are needed to improve the standard numbers. What could help Moncada out some more is the arrival of more talent on the White Sox roster itself.

Chicago is not a very good team right now and no one expected them to be, but the arrival of stud right-handed pitching prospect Michael Kopech already has fans buzzing about the team’s future once again. Perhaps when other prospects like Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal make there way to the South Side of Chicago, Moncada can relax and not feel the type of immense pressure he’s been feeling since day one to perform.

Still, the White Sox are still very confident in Yoan Moncada, and you should be too.

*All statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs & Baseball-Reference. All statistics present in this article are accurate as of August 29, 2018.*

 Photo: Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays to Promote Top Prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to AAA

Once he’s 100% healthy, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be moving up the totem pole in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Guerrero Jr., who is the son of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, will be promoted to Triple-A Buffalo when he is able to return from the disabled list, which he landed on with a left patellar tendon strain. The move to Triple-A makes Guerrero Jr. one step closer to the MLB level.

The Toronto Sun was the first to report Guerrero Jr.’s impending promotion.

There was speculation that Toronto was going to promote Guerrero Jr. straight from Double-A to the Majors, but it looks like they will at least want to give the 19-year-old phenom at least a couple weeks stay at Triple-A before making a final determination. Guerrero Jr. has been rehabbing his injury at the Blue Jays’ spring training complex in Florida after hitting .407/.457/.667 with 11 homers and 55 runs batted in for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Double-A.

Also at the Double-A level, Guerrero Jr. posted a wRC+ of 203, and nearly walked (20) more times than he struck out (21). He fell just shy of record more doubles than strikeouts as well, by three.

For his minor league career, Guerrero Jr. is a .328/.415/.518 hitter, which poses the question, just how more does he have to do to reach the highest level? The Blue Jays say they would like to see Guerrero Jr. improve as a defender, and while we don’t have access to advanced defensive metrics at the minor league level, Guerrero Jr.’s .955 fielding percentage in 392.0 innings this season suggests that some improvement is needed.

It’s unlikely that the Blue Jays, who sit in fourth place in the American League East with a 41-48 record, will make the playoffs this season, so there is no rush to see whether or not Guerrero Jr. could impact the big league club right away like some suggest.

Guerrero Jr. could very well be Toronto’s Opening Day starting third baseman in 2019, especially if Josh Donaldson is not retained this off-season. Donaldson has battled various injuries this season, and is still currently on the disabled list having just played 36 games this season. It’s even entirely possible that the Blue Jays elect to trade Donaldson this month in an effort to get younger.

With Ronald Acuna Jr. graduating from prospect status, Guerrero Jr. is now the top prospect in all of baseball, ahead of names like Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Nick Senzel, and Victor Robles. We will see which one of these five players reach the Majors first, but it looks like the odds favor Guerrero Jr. currently.

Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James Departs Cavaliers, Signs Four-Year Pact With Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers were the favorites all along to land superstar LeBron James in free agency, and they were able to do just that.

James agreed to sign with the Lakers Sunday evening on a four-year, $153.3 million contract that contains and opt-out clause after the third year. James’ agency, Klutch Sports, was first to announce that James had reached a final decision.

The Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, and James’ now former team in the Cleveland Cavaliers were all believed to be in the running for James’ services, until Lakers president of basketball operations won James’ over in a meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Johnson, who is a Lakers legend himself, had a fellow Lakers legend in Kobe Bryant approve of the transaction via social media:

For the Lakers to sign James, it had been reported that they would need to acquire a star player in advance to entice James’ decision, especially when Houston and Philadelphia both had two star players of there own with James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston, and Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. However, that obviously wasn’t needed for James, but that doesn’t mean the Lakers won’t be looking at landing a star.

Disgruntled San Antonio Spurs star small forward Kawhi Leonard wants to play for the Lakers according to various media reports, but the price to acquire him won’t be cheap. It’s likely that if the Lakers were to trade for Leonard, Brandon Ingram could be the centerpiece of the deal going back to San Antonio, with other players/draft picks involved.

Los Angeles understands that their roster right now is still not good enough to knock off the juggernaut Golden State Warriors, and while the signing of James absorbed a hefty portion of cap space, there is plenty of room for Johnson and the Lakers to be able to maneuver around and supplement the roster. They have already re-signed guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and have added Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee for bench pieces.

It won’t be a surprise if the Lakers trade for Leonard, but it also wouldn’t be a surprised if they went that route again to open up cap space. Unloading the contract of Luol Deng could be a way to do that, but the organization would likely have to give any team acquiring Deng’s contract a useful asset back in return.

Here’s the full breakdown of James’ contract, courtesy of Spotrac:

2018-2019: $35,654,150

2020-2021: $37,436,858

2019-2020: $39,219,565

2021-2022: $41,002,273*

*specifies James’ opt-out clause

James opt-out of his contract with the Cavaliers on June 29, which would’ve paid him the $35.6 million he was able to land with the Lakers. It’s extremely likely that the Lakers could be the last stop for James in his historic NBA career, but he has shown no signs of slowing down now, so you never know.

The 2017-2018 season ended for James in heartbreak once again as he couldn’t lead the Cavaliers past the Warriors, but it will be remembered as one of the best seasons of his career when it is all said and done. He appeared in all 82 regular season games, and averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, 8.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 54% from the field and 36% from three-point range to go with a 73% free-throw success rate.

This is the longest contract James has signed with a team since signing a six-year deal with the Miami Heat back in 2010 after his first stint in Cleveland, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Windhorst also noted that James never signed a contract longer than three-years with the Cavaliers, which could be due to his shaky relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert put out the following statement about James’ departure:

“We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see… A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed.

Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio.

None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.

LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line…”

The signing of James is the biggest free agent signing in Lakers history since Shaquille O’Neal in 1996, and this signing will for sure be the biggest in terms of marketing. James will be able to build his brand as a superstar basketball player, and a savvy business man off the court. While it will be about competing for a championship as always for James, there is not one negative about Los Angeles for James in his personal life, as James has two homes in Los Angeles.

The Lakers will make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, and James will attempt to do something no other legend has done in NBA history; lead three separate teams to a championship.

It is going to be one fun NBA season.

Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

2018 NBA Off-Season Tracker

Welcome to the start of 2018 NBA free agency!

This is the official home for The Game Day Report’s 2018 NBA Off-Season Tracker, where you will find every signing, trade, and any other transaction right when it happens. Our tracker is split up into pages, so we will sort things out now so that there is no confusion later.

Page 1: Signings

Page 2: Trades

Without further delay, here is every move that has happen this NBA off-season, all in one place:


Yu Darvish Contemplated Retirement During 2017 Season

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish is attempting to work himself back from the disabled list, but today he was at Dodger Stadium in the Los Angeles for the first time since leaving the Dodgers for the Cubs in the off-season, and had a lot to say.

Darvish, who inked a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs this off-season, revealed to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that last season, he contemplated retiring at the end of it. Thoughts of retiring started to creep in during his time with the Texas Rangers, but started to go away after Darvish was traded to the Dodgers over the summer. Darvish said it had nothing to do with the Rangers themselves:

“I had told my wife that I was thinking of retiring at the end of the year,” Darvish said. “I was thinking I didn’t want to do it anymore, but then I was traded to the Dodgers.”

“It was my problem,” he said. “But my environment changed drastically and playing in that new environment changed something in my soul.”

For Darvish, 2017 was his first full season coming back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2015 season. The mental grind it takes to get back from a major surgery like that often overshadows the physical aspect, even though Darvish ended up pitching well in 2017, and was effective for the Dodgers until the World Series.

In two starts against the Houston Astros on the biggest stage in baseball, Darvish posted a 21.60 earned run average in two starts. In those two starts combined, Darvish lasted just 3.1 total innings, and yielded eight earned runs and two home runs.

While it would certainly be foolish to criticize Darvish for contemplating retirement, you have to at least hope the Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and the rest of the Cubs front office had knowledge of Darvish’s mindset during contract negotiations, because they did not make a minimal commitment by any means.

Chicago’s commitment hasn’t paid off yet, as Darvish has already been on the disabled list twice and has struggled majorly, although there have been signs that could lead you to be optimistic. Darvish allowed only two hits and one earned run in his last start against the Cincinnati Reds on May 20 which brought his earned run average out of the plus-5.00 range.

The Cubs let Jake Arrieta leave in free agency for the Philadelphia Phillies, and while that aspect also hasn’t worked out so far, when Darvish has been healthy, he’s been a better strikeout pitcher than Arrieta, as Arrieta has struggled to strike opposing hitters out this year. Arrieta is on-pace to strikeout just 124 batters this season, which would be the lowest market for Arrieta in a full season,

For his career, Darvish has a 3.49 earned run average and 1,070 strikeouts in 872.1 innings of work.

Photo:Associated Press

Danielle Hunter Receives Massive Five-Year, $72M Extension From Vikings

One of the NFL’s youngest defensive stars is now locked up through the 2023 season.

23-year-old defensive end Danielle Hunter and the Minnesota Vikings came to terms on a contract extension worth $72 million over five years on Wednesday, per an official team announcement. The contract includes $40 million in guarantees, a $15 million signing bonus, and an average annual salary of $14.4 million.

Reports of the extension came from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network before the Vikings later officially confirmed the news.

Hunter was a third-round pick by the Vikings in the 2015 NFL Draft (88th overall), and has established himself as quite the threat off the edge. In all 16 regular season games last season, Hunter had 45 total tackles, seven sacks, two pass deflections, and one forced fumble. Everson Griffen could often be found on the other end, and he had a monster year as well on the Vikings’ defensive line with 45 total tackles and 13.0 sacks.

“I was shaking with excitement,” Hunter told about what he was feeling before signing the extension. “I was like, ‘Is this real?’

“My body was just doing it, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it coming in here. I feel like it’s an important day for my family and I, and the team. I’m really excited about it.”

Using a long-term view, the Vikings now Hunter, Griffen, Linval Joseph, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, and Xavier Rhodes locked up for the foreseeable future. Linebacker Anthony Barr will likely be next on the docket for the Vikings front office when it comes to drawing up a new contract, as Barr is entering the final season of his contract in 2018.

As a team in 2017, the Vikings won the NFC North with a 13-3 regular season record and made the NFC Championship Game. They figure to have a good chance to repeat as division champions even with Aaron Rodgers back for the Green Bay Packers, as Dalvin Cook will be back to full strength while new quarterback Kirk Cousins will look to prove he was worth a fully-guaranteed contract.

Across three NFL seasons, Hunter has 134 total tackles, 25.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 3 fumbles forced.

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Cubs’ Kris Bryant Hits Disabled List For First Time in MLB Career

For the first time in his Major League Baseball career, Chicago Cubs star third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant has hit the disabled list.

In a flurry of roster moves, Bryant was placed on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, per an official team announcement. Taking Bryant’s place on the active 25-man roster will be infielder David Bote, but that wasn’t it for the Cubs transaction wise today.

Right-handed relief pitcher Justin Hancock was also sent to the 10-day disabled list with the same injury as Bryant. The only difference is Hancock’s inflammation is in his right shoulder. Luke Farrell was summoned from Triple-A Iowa to replace Hancock on the roster, while Dillon Maples was brought up as well to take the roster spot of Duane Underwood, who made his Major League debut last night and lasted 4.0 innings.

Bryant’s disabled list stint will be retroactive to June 23rd, meaning that Bryant will spend at least a week on the disabled list before he is able to be activated. In Bryant’s absence, Ian Happ and Javier Baez will likely see most of the playing at third base, while Bote will also figure to get a one or two starts.

The 26-year-old Bryant had been absent from the Cubs’ lineup since Friday against the Cincinnati Reds when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts batting lead-off in manager Joe Maddon‘s lineup. Bryant had previously indicated that he believes he started to experience the soreness in his shoulder as a result of additional work in the batting cages trying to get his swing back on track:

“I think it’s a result of swinging too much. … It’s been pretty sore for about five days,” Bryant said Sunday.

This season began promising for Bryant, as he was on-pace to put up some of the best numbers of his career outside of home runs and runs batted in, but the 2016 National League MVP has struggled immensely since the middle of May, having just one home run since May 14th. The month of June will end for Bryant with a .267/.333/.373 batting line and that one homer and nine runs batted in. Bryant’s  .706 OPS this month is well-below his standard of play,

Collectively for the season, Bryant is batting .280/.383/.481 with nine home runs and 36 runs batted in on the season, which is good for a .864 OPS and a wRC+ of 132.

Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports
%d bloggers like this: