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Kris Bryant returns to MVP form as Cubs make playoff push

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Chicago Cubs slugger Kris Bryant might not repeat as MVP, thanks in large part to a season in which several other National League players have put up monster numbers. In a way, Bryant has flown under the radar despite playing for the first-place and defending champion Cubs -- at least until a recent tear. "You are who you are, and at the end of the year, that's how things will turn out," Bryant said recently. "I believe that as a team, too. We're a winning team and a playoff team, and at the end of the year, that's where we'll be. I'm a big believer in having faith in our abilities, especially mine." Bryant is as humble as Chicago Cubs jerseys superstars come, but he does not lack confidence. None of the greats do, of course, and a key component to Bryant's success comes from having the confidence to work through tough stretches. He embraces the struggle. "A guy I look to is Bryce Harper," Bryant explained. "His MVP year, he hits 42 [home runs in 2015], then he hits 24. It's just the peaks and valleys of the game, which make it so great. If you knew you were going to go out every year and hit 30 and .300, it wouldn't be as fun. I think with the struggles, you have to enjoy them because it makes the success that much better." Kris Bryant raised his OPS from .895 to .946 during a 10-game span from Aug. 4-14. Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire Embracing his struggles this season helped lead to Bryant's recent tear; he had a .667 on-base percentage over a seven-game stretch. So what changed during the Cubs' last road trip? "There's more New England Patriots jerseys power to a thought than actually going out there and practicing it a hundred times," Bryant explained. "It was me just trying to hit stuff up the middle, a line drive up the middle. When I was able to do that, I was like, 'Whoa.' I just went up there and thought that and I was able to do it. If I can continue to realize how powerful my thoughts can be, we're in a good spot. I took that and ran with it." The power of suggestion isn't new, but often it comes from another party. That's not Bryant. He doesn't need much of an outside voice. There are few players in the game who are better at mentally and mechanically fixing themselves. Cubs manager Joe Maddon saw Bryant's return to form as a physical adjustment. "The way the bat is coming through the zone," Maddon said. "Really longer out front. Flatter out front. The bat stays in the zone longer, as opposed to coming in and out quick." The timing of Bryant's hot stretch could not have been better. He picked it up just as the Cubs lost their hottest hitter, catcher Willson Contreras, to a hamstring injury. Maddon was hopeful other Cubs would galvanize around the injury, and at least one player thinks it somehow contributed to Bryant's tear. "Sometimes when guys go down, cheap jerseys it benefits some people in certain ways," right fielder Jason Heyward said. "He doesn't see the [bad] effects of the loss of Willson. The guys behind him see it [differently] without Contreras in there. But [Bryant] just took off." Bryant doesn't necessarily view it that way. He hasn't "stepped up" his game so much as made the right adjustments. His success is helping keep the Cubs afloat while Contreras and shortstop Addison Russell return from injury -- and others find their groove. "It's kind of a fine line," he said. "When someone that important goes down, you don't want to go out there and say, 'OK, I have to try really hard,' because usually when you do, nothing happens from that. But I've been feeling really good at the plate, seeing pitches, working counts, getting on base. I just don't want to fall into the trap of going out there and trying hard because Willson is down. "Lately I've been ready for my pitch and laying off the ones I should be. It's that simple." Maybe for him it is.

Correa takes BP, eyes Thursday rehab game

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Carlos Correa could be sent out on Minor League rehab assignment as early as Thursday. The Astros' All-Star shortstop took a huge step toward returning to game action Tuesday when he took batting practice on the field. Correa, who said he was scheduled to see the team doctor Chicago Cubs jerseys after BP, will go through full pregame activities before possibly being sent out Thursday to play for Double-A Corpus Christi, which plays Midland at home Thursday and Friday before opening a three-game road series Saturday against San Antonio. I'm really excited for everything, and hopefully I can resume my rehab assignment very soon," Correa said. Heavy rains are forecast for San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday, which could alter the Astros' plans. Correa's rehab assignment is likely to last for more than a week, considering there will be days off in between and he hasn't played in a game since tearing a thumb ligament July 17. The Astros are 14-17 since the injury. Correa, 22, was having an MVP-caliber season for the Astros, hitting Cheap Jerseys .320 with 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 84 games. Before getting injured, he ranked second in the American League in RBIs, tied for second in multihit games (33), third in WAR (4.8), fifth in batting average, fifth in OPS (.966) and fifth in runs scored (64). "Sitting in the dugout every single game watching the team go out there and perform, it's not me," he said. "I'm not used to that. I'm not used to sitting the dugout. I want to go out there and physically contribute to the game. I'm really excited to be back." Meanwhile, All-Star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who's been out since July 31 with back discomfort, could also be sent on rehab later this week, though manager A.J. Hinch said the team may determine he needs another live batting-practice session instead. "He's getting closer to real competition," Hinch said. Four Astros players began Minor League rehab stints Tuesday at Corpus Christi -- pitchers Will Harris (right shoulder inflammation), Tony Sipp (right calf soreness) and Michael Feliz (right shoulder discomfort) and catcher Evan Gattis, who's recovering from a concussion. Gattis caught Tuesday, will be at designated hitter Wednesday and then will catch again Thursday before being reevaluated. Harris could rejoin the Astros on Wednesday if he responds well to his outing with the Hooks on Tuesday. Feliz and Sipp aren't expected back until September. Also, catcher Brian McCann, who's been out since Aug. 14 with a right knee Dallas Cowboys jerseys issue, will come off the DL Thursday, Hinch said. He won't require a rehab assignment. "It's August, and there's a lot of teams that are beat up," Hinch said. "I'll be happy when we're healthy and we stop talking about it." If you are interested in jerseys. Please click:

Beltre homers, Hamels pitches Rangers to 5-3 win over Angels

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It's beyond crowded in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Jerseys League wild-card race, with eight teams bunched up like flowers in an overflowing vase. The Los Angeles Angels were the most recent club to make some noise, winning nine of 11 to slip into the second spot. But the Texas Rangers still believe they can make a run, and Monday night they took a step in that direction with a 5-3 victory over the Angels behind Adrian Beltre's three-run homer and seven strong innings from Cole Hamels. "We have to beat every team," Hamels said. "If we want to stay in this wild-card race, we have a lot of different teams we have to beat. It doesn't matter what teams we're facing, we just have to win series." Hamels (9-1) did his part, allowing two runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out three. Alex Claudio got four outs to earn his seventh save, despite giving up an RBI single to Mike Trout in the ninth. The loss dropped the Angels a half-game back of Minnesota for the second AL wild card. The Rangers closed within two games of the final playoff berth. Eight teams are within four games of each other. "We're chasing these guys," Beltre said. "It's nice to get the first one out of the way and try to win the series." The game was tied 1-all going Cole Hamels Jerseys into the third when the Rangers took the lead on Shin-Soo Choo's double off Tyler Skaggs (1-4) just beyond the glove of left fielder Cameron Maybin and off the wall, driving in the go-ahead run. After Skaggs hit Elvis Andrus with a pitch, Beltre hit his 14th home run this season and the 459th of his career, tying Miguel Cabrera for 37th all-time. "Just a poor performance today," Skaggs said. "This loss is on me. I really wanted to go out there and make a good start for my team, and right from the first batter, it wasn't meant to be." Skaggs was customize jerseys making his fourth start since missing more than three months due to an oblique strain. He was charged with five runs — four earned — in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander gave up four hits, walked one and hit two batters with pitches. "He's not that far off," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But Tyler can get better. Right now he's still kind of getting into his season and trying to re-establish everything he needs to do. He'll be an important part of our stretch run."

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