MILWAUKEE -- Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was 4-for-4 on Wednesday, and he hit his Southern League-leading 17th home run on Friday for Double-A Tennessee. The third baseman was batting over .400 in May with 12 home runs, six doubles and 34 RBIs in 28 games.
What else does he have to prove at Double-A?
"With all due respect to everyone who is looking at these young men and their numbers, he's doing very, very well and we're happy he's doing very, very well," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Friday. "I'll say this: Even when you get to the big leagues you always have some room to learn. [To say] that he wouldn't have anything else to learn in Double-A, I guess that can be debated.
"We're glad he's doing well," Renteria said. "As an organization, everybody is comfortable where he's at. The organization will make a decision as to how he'll progress."
Even the Smokies are excited about Bryant's performances, and they invited fans to submit "Kris Bryant facts." Among them was teammate Corey Black's submission: "Kris Bryant shouldn't even have to walk to the plate any more, just trot around the bases straight out of the dugout."
Bryant, rated the Cubs' No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, was the their first-round pick in last June's First Year Player Draft. The Cubs do have a talented third baseman at Triple-A Iowa in Christian Villanueva, who was batting .226 with four homers, 13 doubles and 17 RBIs in 47 games.
Wright, Strop return; Rondon goes on paternity leave
MILWAUKEE -- Reliever Wesley Wright was activated from paternity leave and rejoined the Cubs Friday in Milwaukee, but Hector Rondon was placed on leave to be with his wife, Keilin, for the birth of their first child.
Blake Parker, added Wednesday to take Wright's spot, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Friday, and Pedro Strop was activated from the disabled list to take Rondon's spot.
Strop, 28, was placed on the disabled list on May 7 with a left groin strain. He was 0-2 with one save and a 4.97 ERA in 15 relief appearances.
Wright, 29, was placed on the paternity leave list on Tuesday for the birth of his daughter, Harlem Rose Wright. He is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 18 relief appearances.
Rondon, 26, has been the Cubs' closer, and he was 6-for-7 in save situations.
Parker, 28, has spent the majority of the season with Iowa, turning in a 0.77 ERA with eight saves.
Rizzo, Cubs eager to see Wrigley renovated
MILWAUKEE -- Cubs players feel similar to Cubs fans regarding the Wrigley Field renovation plans. Enough talk. They would like to see it get done.
The latest proposal has stalled because the Cubs altered the plan approved by the city of Chicago last year by increasing the number of outfield signs to seven; adding 300 new seats, 300 standing room positions and new outfield light standards; and installing larger outfield doors that alter the landmarked ivy-covered walls.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago was unaware of some of the changes. The Cubs players are weary of the delays.
"They told us again that it was going to get approved, and it didn't get approved, and I know a lot of guys aren't happy about that," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Friday. "It's kind of a shame because we get excited about it. Give [the Cubs] credit, they're working their tails off, but it got shut down. It's kind of a bummer because we all thought it would happen. Now we'll just wait and see like everyone else."
The Cubs had hoped to begin work in July on the new clubhouse, which will expand to 30,000 square feet. That's on hold.
"When guys are promised that things are going to happen, and they don't happen, they're not happy about it," Rizzo said. "When it gets done it'll be great. Now it's when it gets done it gets done, and we won't get our hopes up."
Rizzo has never used the batting tee and net in the Cubs' clubhouse that substitutes for a batting cage. He didn't feel the ballpark's antiquated facilities held the team back.
"I don't know if it holds guys from signing here," he said. "Me, personally, I love to play [at Wrigley]. It's at a point where you want [the renovations] done with."
So do the Cubs' executives.
"I know we'll do everything first class because that's the way the organization is," Rizzo said. "It's just, you're sick of hearing it's going to be done. You just want to see it be done."
Cubs rest Rizzo for first time as May winds down
MILWAUKEE -- On the Cubs' 52nd game, Anthony Rizzo sat.
The Cubs first baseman was out of the lineup Friday in the series opener against the Brewers, the first game he had not started this season.
Manager Rick Renteria wanted to give Rizzo a breather, and with Thursday's team off-day, Rizzo was able to rest two days.
"I could play," Rizzo said. "I don't have to take a day. Obviously, I want to be out there and help the guys win. It is what it is."
Even outfielder Chris Coghlan seemed puzzled that Rizzo was not in the lineup, joining the media with his camera phone.
"You're 24 years old -- do you think you need a day off?" Coghlan asked.
No, Rizzo said, laughing. But Renteria felt the time was right. Expect Starlin Castro to get Sunday off. The Cubs have an off-day Monday, so the shortstop would have two days to rest. Castro has made it clear he wants to play all 162 games.
"He probably wants to play 200," Renteria said. "We're just trying to be smart about their usage. If you ask any of these guys, they want to play 162 games."
Rizzo was batting .244 in 25 games in May, and this season he has fared better against left-handed pitchers, batting .315 compared with .242 against right-handers.
Rookie Mike Olt started at first base on Friday, but he had to borrow Coghlan's glove because his wasn't broken in yet.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.