Cubs bring up Kris Bryant; activate Chris Denorfia from DL

Bryant_Kris_Horiz.JPGThe Chicago Cubs today selected the contract of infielder Kris Bryant from Triple-A Iowa and activated outfielder Chris Denorfia off of the 15-day disabled list. Infielder Mike Olt was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 15) with a hairline fracture in his right wrist, and right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 16) with right shoulder inflammation.

Bryant, who will wear uniform number 17, and Denorfia will be available for the Cubs this afternoon when they begin a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.

Bryant, 23, joins the Cubs after hitting .321 (9-for-28) with three homers and 10 RBI in seven games with Iowa. He was Chicago’s first-round pick in the 2013 Draft (second overall) and entered 2015 ranked as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. He earned 2014 Minor League Player of the Year honors from Baseball America, USA Today and the Cubs after hitting .325 and leading the minors with 43 homers, 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases, a .661 slugging mark and a 1.098 OPS, while ranking third with 110 RBI between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa.

After being selected by the Cubs out of the University of San Diego, Bryant combined to hit .336 with 14 doubles, two triples and nine homers in 36 games across three minor league levels that summer, culminating with a 2013 Florida State League Championship and 2013 Arizona Fall League Joe Black MVP honors after leading the league with six homers, a .457 slugging percentage and 56 total bases.

Bryant began the 2014 campaign with his first stop at Double-A and batted .355 with 22 homers and 58 RBI in 68 games with Tennessee to earn a spot on the Southern League All-Star team and a promotion to Triple-A on June 19, just a little more than a year after he was drafted. He batted .295 with 21 homers and 52 RBI in 70 games with Iowa. Bryant also started at third base for the U.S. Team at the All-Star Futures game in Minnesota. Overall, he has turned in a .327 batting average with 55 homers and 152 RBI in 181 minor league games.

As a junior at San Diego, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bryant won the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, was the Baseball America Player of the Year, the 2013 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and the 2013 Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year. Bryant is a native of Las Vegas and a graduate of Bonanza High School.

Denorfia, 34, began the season on the 15-day disabled list due to a mild left hamstring strain. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder split the 2014 campaign between San Diego and Seattle and combined to bat .230 with 12 doubles and three homers in 121 games. He played in two rehab games for Single-A Myrtle Beach, going 1-for-3 with a double.

Overall, Denorfia is a career .272 hitter in 705 games covering all or part of nine seasons with Cincinnati (2005-06), Oakland (2008-09), San Diego (2010-14) and Seattle (2014). He has averaged 21 doubles, four triples, nine homers and 13 stolen bases per 162 games played while turning in a career .331 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging mark.  Denorfia has played 352 big league games in right field, 248 games in left field and 164 games in center field.

Olt, 26, is hitting .133 (2-for-15) with one homer and one RBI in six games for the Cubs this season.

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