Sports

Cubs may have Bryant in lineup vs. Padres

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Cubs may have highly-touted third baseman Kris Bryant in the lineup on Friday when they begin a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.

Much was made of Bryant's demotion to Triple-A at the end of spring training, as the thought was that the Cubs were trying to delay the start of his service time.

The Cubs, though, need a third baseman since Mike Olt could miss at least three weeks with a hairline fracture in his wrist after getting hit with a pitch last weekend.

Although the Cubs wouldn't confirm that Bryant was coming, their top prospect sent out a tweet on Thursday all but confirming it.

"Today I got to tell my family that my dream is coming true," Bryant tweeted. "Can't really put into words what that feels like. So excited for this journey!"

Bryant, of course, batted .425 this spring and led the Major Leagues with nine home runs -- and hit two more in exhibition games that didn't count. He had hit three homers in seven games with Triple-A Iowa and was batting .321.

Chicago took two of three meetings with the Cincinnati Reds to open this six- game homestand and is coming off Wednesday's 5-0 victory. Travis Wood hurled seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball, struck out seven and walked two.

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and both Dexter Fowler and Starlin Castro had two hits for the Cubs, winners in five of the last seven games. Jorge Soler, Miguel Montero and Jonathan Herrera all drove in runs.

"Going into the off day with the victory is a nice thing to do," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Sleep is more tranquil, food tastes better and you like your dog a little bit more. It's really a nice thing to do."

Jason Hammel gets the nod for Maddon's club Friday and made his season debut in Saturday's 9-5 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. He was touched for three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Hammel has faced the Padres 13 times (12 starts) in his career and the right- hander has a 4-3 record to go along with a 5.01 ERA.

The Padres, meanwhile, revamped their roster this past offseason in hopes of competing in the NL West and are off to a 6-4 start. They have won five of their last six games and took two of three meetings versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In Wednesday's 3-2 win over the D-backs at Petco Park, former D-back Justin Upton snapped a 2-2 tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Upton finished with three hits and two runs scored for San Diego, which went 5-2 on its homestand.

"Not really," Upton said if he still carried a grudge against his former club. "Not at all. Obviously, the first time I came back to Arizona, there was a little adrenaline. But now it's just another team."

Upton spent time with the Atlanta Braves before joining the Padres.

Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out two and worked around a hit in the ninth for his third save and Joaquin Benoit tossed a scoreless eighth for the win. Brandon Morrow started for the Padres and was decent through seven innings, allowing two runs and seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk.

San Diego, which will visit Colorado for four games on this trip, hopes newcomer James Shields pitches well in Friday's opener at Wrigley Field. Shields did not record a decision in his debut on April 6 at Los Angeles and gave up two runs in six innings of a 6-3 loss. He fanned eight batters.

The right-hander cracked the win column in Saturday's 10-2 pounding of San Francisco, as he limited the defending World Series champions to a run and three hits across seven innings with seven K's and a walk.

Shields will make his second career start against the Cubs

San Diego won four of seven meetings with Chicago last season.