Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant stepped on third base awkwardly as he concentrated skyward in pursuit of a Matt Wieters’ popup in the fifth inning.
Bryant twisted his ankle on the base but still made the catch for the out. But after the play he limped off the field with help from the Cubs trainer and did not return.
The Cubs reported Bryant was diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate ankle sprain.
Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, Bryant’s childhood friend and fellow Las Vegas native, said he certainly did not want to see that play happen.
“We were all sitting in the dugout,” Harper said. “Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. One of the best players in baseball, you want to see him playing every single day. Hopefully, he’s doing OK, and well wishes to him and hopefully he’ll be back out there soon.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters that X-rays on Bryant’s ankle came back negative. He said the Cubs are not sure if he will on the disabled list, but Bryant will not be in the lineup Thursday.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot, and the awkward momentum off the base caused it,” Maddon told reporters. “I was watching closely and you could see it was more painful than you would think. I did not want to leave him out there. Wanted to get him off the field quickly, get that iced as soon as possible and see what’s going on.”
Maddon said that if Bryant is out, the Cubs do have some time to get him on the mend.
“Things happen. You have to fix them when things happen,” Maddon explained to reporters. “You don’t cry. Of course suboptimal, no question, but when you come up the way I’ve come up ... We have a game to win tomorrow. He will not be starting, obviously, so we’ll try to figure it out in another way.
“Get him off his feet literally for a couple of days, and I still believe it’s going to benefit in August and September. So, let’s keep moving it forward and hopefully it’s not too bad.”
* Assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones was the Nationals’ first base coach in the game because Davey Lopes was dealing with a private family issue, according to manager Dusty Baker.
“Davey had a personal family matter,” Baker said. “It was an emergency. Won’t elaborate on it. We just don’t know exactly when Davey will be back. We just hope everything will work out fine for Davey and his family.”
With that update, expect Jones to be at first base again in Thursday’s getaway 4 p.m. game.
* There was a dramatic moment after Willson Contreras unloaded a two-run shot off of Stephen Strasburg in the top of the fourth. Contreras appeared to slow down and delay his home trot around third, even adding a skip to his jog.
Then in the sixth after a popup to Trea Turner, MASN replays showed Contreras jawing at Strasburg, but Strasburg did not react. Contreras then appeared to wave away Strasburg with his hand and give up on the discussion as he headed to the Cubs dugout.
Baker had trouble seeing what Contreras’ issue with Strasburg was.
“I don’t know what they were talking about,” Baker said. “I asked Stras, and you know Stras is a matter-of-fact kind of guy, so I didn’t elaborate or ask him too many questions. Then (home plate umpire) Tim Timmons came over later in the game and he said it was mostly Contreras jawing at him. So I don’t know what he was talking about. I don’t know if Stras even understood what he was saying, so maybe that’s why he didn’t get upset or do anything about it or think about it.”
Strasburg also said he had trouble understanding what Contreras was trying to say to him as he came off the field.
“I don’t really know, to be honest,” Strasburg said. “I was trying to understand what he was saying. But I couldn’t really understand it, so I don’t know. (Timmons) kinda broke it up. I don’t know what he was saying.”