The world didn't have to wait long for Kris Bryant's arrival.
Less than two weeks after the start of the regular season, Bryant will be recalled by the Cubs Friday, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports. By waiting until April 17, the Cubs were able to delay the start of Bryant's service time clock, thus controlling him for an extra year.
Bryant did nothing in spring to show he wasn't ready for the opportunity, and he continued crushing minor league pitching to start the year. The third baseman is hitting .286 (8-for-28) with three home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored through seven games. In what could be his final minor league game ever, Bryant launched a three-run homer to put an exclamation point on the short stay.
Unlike Yasmany Tomas, Bryant won't be promoted to sit on the bench, either. The Cubs have gotten a .148/.233/.259 output from their third basemen through eight games, with five players having manned the position. Mike Olt has appeared in the most games at the position thus far; Olt is batting .133/.188/.333 thus far.
Bryant's expedient arrival wasn't unexpected -- despite much (justified) wailing and gnashing of teeth when he was demoted prior to the season -- so he's likely owned in the majority of leagues. Bryant is already owned in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues and will soon be owned universally. In leagues in which he is already rostered, he should be in fantasy lineups from the second he's promoted Friday.
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Gomez Lands On DL
The Brewers lost Thursday, but they lost an even more important part of their lineup as well.
The club confirmed Thursday that outfielder Carlos Gomez will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a small tear in his right hamstring. Gomez traveled back to Milwaukee prior to the Brewers' game against the Cardinals Thursday to be examined by team doctors.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said a level of concern exists about their center fielder.
"If we weren't concerned at all, we wouldn't be sending him to (team physician William) Raasch," Roenicke said.
Gomez hurt the hamstring in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game. The 29-year-old pulled up lame while hustling down the line trying to beat out a double play. Gomez immediately left the field with the team's trainer after reaching first base safely.
In his absence, Gerardo Parra will get regular at-bats in center field. The silver lining also applies to Khris Davis, who had seen his playing time cut into by Parra in the season's first few games. Parra becomes a must-own in NL-only leagues during Gomez' absence.
Another unintended consequence of the loss of Gomez is the Brewers' sudden need for a leadoff hitter. The club flirted with both Jean Segura and Scooter Gennett in the spot during spring, and Roenicke said both are options, but he'll likely choose one and stick with him for the majority of Gomez' absence.
"It's the flip-flopping that I don't like," said Roenicke. "Whoever's swinging better, I'll just put him up there. The thing with Seggy, he gives you the stolen bases. And he's swinging the bat well. Scooter's not swinging like he can swing.
"Whoever we get in the leadoff spot to cover it, hopefully they do their part. They're not going to be driving the ball out of the ballpark like Gomey can. But hopefully they're getting on base enough to where we've got all those good RBI guys behind him and we should score runs.
"It's who can handle that leadoff spot and maintains what they're doing instead of all of a sudden changing because you're leading off."
Segura batted leadoff Thursday and is, as Roenicke noted, hitting better right now. His stock gets a boost batting ahead of Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun for however long he will be. That timeline should be clearer once the Brewers reveal the results of Gomez' exam, which should happen Friday.
Reyes Exits With Oblique Injury
A rib cage injury is threatening to sideline another team's leadoff hitter as well.
Jose Reyes left Thursday's game against the Rays after his first at-bat with soreness in his left rib cage area. The initial concern is that the injury is another instance of an oblique issue that has nagged Reyes recently. Reyes tweaked the oblique last week, he told reporters, but he hasn't been forced to miss any time -- yet.
Reyes will get the day off Friday, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, a break that will allow Devon Travis to move into the leadoff spot if only for a day. Reyes had previously been slated to get Saturday off for a day game after a night game, so it remains to be seen if that will change with Reyes missing Friday's game.
Reyes said he hopes to be able to avoid a disabled list trip with a few days off. Owners should monitor the Jays' lineups in the next few days to see if, and when, the shortstop returns.
National League Quick Hits: John Lackey mowed down the Brewers Thursday, throwing seven scoreless innings in the shutout victory. Lackey struck out eight to pick up his first victory of the 2015 season ... Craig Stammen's season may be over after it was learned he'll require surgery to repair a flexor tear in his right arm. Stammen has been a reliable if underappreciated member of the Nationals' bullpen, which is suddenly thin with Casey Janssen and now Stammen sidelined ... after missing two games with a tight back, Christian Yelich returned to the Marlins lineup Thursday. Yelich finished 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored in the loss ... his teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, went deep for the first time this season in the game ... Cole Hamels got knocked around in a loss to the Nationals. The southpaw allowed five runs on five hits, walking four, over six innings. He served up two home runs and has now allowed seven homers in three starts, a troubling trend to say the least ... Neil Ramirez will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder after leaving his relief appearance early Wednesday. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the issue is "nothing real positive," so the club will be holding its breath as they wait for the results of the tests.
American League Quick Hits: Evan Longoria left Thursday's game after being hit by a pitch on the left hip. Longoria is day to day ... Longoria was hit in part because his pitcher, Chris Archer, had bouts of wildness, hitting two Blue Jays batters. But the rest of the outing was tremendous, as Archer struck out 11 over seven shutout innings in the Rays' win ... Lorenzo Cain had a big day against the Twins, finishing 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in the loss. Cain has carried over his tremendous 2014 postseason, as he's now batting .429/.512/.714 through nine games ... with the Indians' rotation getting jumbled following Carlos Carrasco's early exit Tuesday, the club will recall Danny Salazar to start Saturday's game against the Twins. Salazar fanned seven over six shutout innings in his only minor league start this year ... Brett Gardner is dealing with a bone bruise in his right wrist, but there appears to be no structural damage. He should be back in the Yankees' lineup in a day or two ... Jake McGee (elbow) threw an inning in an extended spring training game Thursday. Assuming he feels good Friday, McGee could go on a minor league rehab assignment soon in advance of returning to the Rays later this month or in early May ... Joe Mauer collected three RBI in the Twins' victory, going 1-for-4 in the game. Despite a .281 average, all nine of Mauer's hits have been singles to this point.