CINCINNATI – The Cubs haven’t had much to be happy about lately, but they got some good news Sunday.
Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel were named to the National League All-Star team as reserves. It will be Bryant’s fourth appearance, joining Ron Santo and Stan Hack as the only third baseman in franchise history with at least four nods.
“It never gets old. I’m super thankful and grateful for the recognition. I can’t wait to get to Denver,” explained Bryant, who unbeknownst to him earned a spot through the player vote. “It’s really cool to be recognized by your peers. I try to go out there everyday and earn the respect of my opponents and teammates. It definitely does feel really good when you hear your peers are the ones that voted you in.”
Kimbrel is now an eight-time All-Star after starting the season with a blistering 0.59 ERA. The veteran closer has already racked up 20 saves, 53 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 32 appearances. Bouncing back from a rough two-year stretch on the North Side wasn’t easy, but Cubs manager David Ross helped him get back on track.
“He was definitely there with me when I wasn’t doing so well. We had a great understanding that if, last year, I couldn’t do my job, obviously I wouldn’t be in this spot. That’s what happened. I was able to figure it out.”
Bryant’s road to the ‘Midsummer Classic’ was rocky, too. KB has nearly quadrupled his home run and RBI output from last season in only twice as many games.
“I wasn’t in a great headspace mentally. For me, [I wanted] to hit the offseason with a ton of motivation and really wanted to get after it because I know the type of player I am. I know what I bring to a team and what I bring to a city. It’s nice to be recognized for that.”