Bryant out of lineup for 2nd time in 3 games

Maddon being cautious in giving third baseman extra rest

Bryant out of lineup for 2nd time in 3 games

PITTSBURGH -- On Sunday, Kris Bryant got a day of rest.

The Cubs third baseman, who is 0-for-8 in his last three games with six strikeouts, did not start against the Pirates. Bryant is batting .208 in 15 games in June and .264 overall.

"I still think I need to be proactive resting him," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Bryant. "We talked after [Saturday's] game and he agreed it was OK to go this way."

Bryant, 25, is young, but he's also had two long seasons back-to-back and a lot of off-the-field activities in between.

"All that aside, I'm watching what's happening right now and trying to read it as well as I possibly can," Maddon said. "I think only him and [Anthony] Rizzo are the two guys who have not been actively resting."

After being part of three World Series, Maddon said he's convinced players need their rest early so they're available late in the season.

"What normally occurs is you run out of fuel by the middle of August," Maddon said. "I don't want that. I'd rather have fuel in the tank then and push down at the end when the weather cools down and the pennant race pulls the best out of you. Patience is a real big word right now and keeping a clear head about what's going on and how you've done it in the past and what you think you know works. I do believe having rested and healthy people by August matters a lot."

It's just hard to keep Bryant or Rizzo on the bench.

"You want to put 'K.B.' and Rizzo in the lineup every day, and sometimes you have to fight that urge and make sure they get the rest," Maddon said.

Bryant said the break was good.

"I just want to be ready for August, September, October," Bryant said. "I was feeling a little fatigued recently. I'm totally fine.

"It was kind of relaxing to be a fan for the day and watch the game," Bryant said after the Cubs' 7-1 win over the Pirates.

• Shortstop Addison Russell did not start to rest a sore right ankle, which he turned rounding the bases on Saturday night. Russell was 5-for-17 (.294) on the road trip with two home runs, including a solo shot on Saturday. The injury is not serious.

• LSU pitcher Alex Lange, who the Cubs selected with the 30th pick overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, started Saturday night against Florida State in the College World Series. Lange did not get a decision but LSU won, 5-4. Lange gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out eight. LSU plays Oregon State on Monday.

Cubs draft RHP Lange No. 30

• When certain songs come on at a ballpark, Maddon likes to play a game where he tries to remember where he was when that song was popular.

"At least, I remember where I was," he said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.