Bryant led the minor leagues with 43 home runs last season and swatted a spring training-leading nine homers entering Thursday.
The Cubs are not sure Bryant is a candidate at third base, his natural position, because of his defense. Other teams have made similar switches with power prospects to get them on the field. National League Central rival Milwaukee moved Ryan Braun from third base to left field when his defense showed to be sub-standard at the MLB level.
Manager Joe Maddon said the move isn’t as simple as scratching Bryant’s name on the lineup card. Bryant has been working with bench coach Dave Martinez to get accustomed to the position. Martinez knows the adventure that is manning the outfield at Wrigley Field, where exposed brick walls can make fielding tricky in the spring months and growing ivy only complicates matters in summertime.
“My biggest concern, always, with infielders going to the outfield and vice-versa is arm — that you would hurt your arm because you would chose to use different arm stroke,” Maddon said.
Cubs president Theo Epstein has been called on the carpet by Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, who questioned in the media recently whether the team should be shamed for not having its best players on the 25-man opening day roster.
By delaying Bryant’s arrival to the big leagues even two weeks, the Cubs can preserve a year of service time.