Kris Bryant has been dealing with a tender right knee since the All-Star break and recently admitted that he thinks it probably won’t heal completely heal until the offseason. While the slugger refused to blame the injury for his trouble at the plate recently, it’s something that he says is bothersome when running bases.
“There’s always nicks and bruises and you have to deal with it,” Bryant told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. “Hitting the base hard isn’t fun but I’m still trying to figure out how to hit first base with my left leg instead of my right leg.”
The specter of that knee getting tweaked is not what you want haunting your best player in the middle of a pennant run, especially when it’s something that’s been around for so long already. Though it hasn’t required any time on the injured list, the discomfort has been enough to force Bryant out of games and isn’t just going to magically disappear
“We did a lot of treatment after I came out and it’s not something I’m concerned about,” he said after being removed from the Cubs’ July 24 contest in San Francisco. “Just something I’m going to battle through and be fine.”
Six weeks later, Bryant continues to battle knee pain and is managing discomfort by running the bases differently. It’s not just the baserunning, though, since KB’s offense has been absent since mid-August. In his last 51 plate appearances, the 2016 MVP has batted .196 with one homer, two doubles, and a .255 wOBA (53 wRC+).
There is, however, some potential good news: Bryant bounced back from similar knee discomfort earlier in August. After not playing on a Sunday game on August 4, Bryant went on a tear and blasted four homers with a .318 batting average and .424 wOBA (163 wRC+) over his next 51 plate appearances. Sign me up for that again.