CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant, the Cubs' first-round Draft pick, was so confident in his ability, he said he was ready to play in the big leagues now. That prompted manager Dale Sveum to check with the team's traveling secretary to see if the third baseman was headed to Chicago for Friday's game.
"I was looking for a flight manifest to see if we could get him in the lineup today," Sveum said.
Not yet. Bryant was taken second overall in Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday. The 20-year-old infielder led the nation with 31 home runs for San Diego.
"We got the best hitter in the Draft," Sveum said. "He's an athlete -- 6-foot-5, great body, can run, throw. And obviously, we know about his power. Watching all the video on him, I loved his mechanics hitting, and his strength and ability to hit the ball to center field and right-center field is a plus.
"Whenever you get the best hitter in the Draft, one thing, knock on wood, is that they hit in the big leagues."
Watching video, Sveum could also tell Bryant has the athleticism to handle third base. Seeing Bryant hit got Sveum excited about the future.
"Just watching him, he has pretty good mechanics that usually last and will play well in the big leagues," Sveum said. "It's nice to have a guy who outhomered 200 major college teams."
• In the second round of the First-Year Player Draft, the Cubs selected Missouri left-hander Rob Zastryzny, who compiled a 3.38 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 82 over 90 2/3 innings.
"Talking to the scouts and [scouting and player development director] Jason [McLeod], [Zastryzny] finished well and can get to 94 [mph], has four pitches and is a real good competitor," Sveum said. "Obviously, the record he had didn't show because of the team he was on. I think the more impressive thing is how he got better each year and finished his season real strong. He's a guy who gets on the mound and competes with his fastball."
Zastryzny, 21, was 2-9, but the Tigers averaged 2.5 runs per start. The lefty ranks eighth all-time in Missouri history with 228 strikeouts.
• Starlin Castro batted seventh for the third straight game Friday. The shortstop, who was batting .253 overall, was 1-for-8 in the first two games there after hitting second most of the season. How long will Sveum keep Castro lower in the order?
"I have no idea," Sveum said. "There's no timetable on it. Hopefully, we get him back swinging the bat and having quality at-bats and hitting the ball hard. It's not even seeing that he gets hits, but more the at-bats and hitting the ball hard."
• Cubs pitchers set a National League record with 19 RBIs in the month of May, but success does have a price.
"Hopefully, they have as good a month in June as they did in May," Sveum said. "They outproduced some of the other spots in the lineup. Not putting a downer on it, but now they get pitched a little tougher."
• No date has been set for Kyuji Fujikawa's surgery on his right elbow. Fujikawa needs Tommy John surgery, and the team has been waiting for the swelling to subside before setting a date.
• Reliever Shawn Camp threw his second bullpen session on Friday since going on the disabled list with a sprained right big toe. He's making progress, Sveum said, as is reliever Rafael Dolis, on the DL with a strained forearm.
• The Cubs have announced start times for four Friday games this season, which will begin at 3:05 p.m. CT, following approval from the Chicago city council.
The four dates are July 5 against the Pirates, July 12 against the Cardinals. Aug. 2 against the Dodgers and Aug. 16 against the Cardinals. The games were previously listed as "to be determined."
The Cubs' players wanted the late starts after road trips. The July 5 switch will help, as they play in Oakland the day before.
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.