8/19/2014 8:01 P.M. ET
Coghlan happy to be healthy, leading off
By Daniel Kramer / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Cubs left fielder Chris Coghlan was back at the top of the lineup Tuesday after not starting Monday with soreness in his left big toe. He pinch-hit during the eighth and remained in left for the final two innings in Monday's series finale against the Mets.
Coghlan entered Tuesday batting .326 since July 1 after hitting .203 during May and June. During his much-improved stretch, Coghlan has a .942 OPS -- second best in the National League behind Washington's Jayson Werth (1.017).
This all from a former NL Rookie of the Year who was plagued with injuries during his five years with the Marlins. The Cubs signed him to a Minor League contract in January.
"Playing every day is a big part of it, and health," Coghlan said of his success in 2014. "I've always felt during my career that the two things were health and opportunity. So I thank the Lord that I've had both of those this year and things have played out."
Coghlan is batting .242 with 17 extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 32 games he's started at leadoff. He's reached safely in 36 of his last 43 games, hitting safely in 31 of those.
Center fielder Arismendy Alcantara hit leadoff on Monday, and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Cubs manager Rick Renteria said that Alcantara "fits the leadoff profile" of a leadoff hitter, but had Coghlan back at the top on Tuesday. Alcantara hit seventh for the first time Tuesday against the Giants.
Coghlan said he'd hit anywhere in the lineup, but that he enjoys leading off.
"I really love the opportunity and the responsibility to be able to set the table," Coghlan said. "I think when you can get on, especially during that first at-bat, or have a long at-bat, it really helps the team out. So I like that. I also like that you get up more than anybody else. There are more opportunities to help the team win."
Bryant returns to lineup in Triple-A Iowa
CHICAGO -- Top Cubs prospect Kris Bryant returned to Triple-A Iowa's lineup Tuesday, going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout against Salt Lake.
Bryant left Saturday's game with a left foot contusion, diagnosed through X-rays that night and an MRI on Sunday.
Bryant was used a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Monday's 7-5 loss, but he was lifted for a pinch-runner after drawing a walk. He batted third and played third in his return on Tuesday.
"He's fine. He's doing great -- no issues," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Bryant on Tuesday.
Bryant has amassed 40 homers this season between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa, tied for the Minor League lead with Rangers prospect and close friend Joey Gallo. Bryant is batting .307 with 18 homers, 45 RBI and 14 doubles with Iowa, where he's played since being called up from Tennessee on June 19.
Cubs host 'Buses for Baseball' children
CHICAGO -- The Cubs hosted children from the "Buses for Baseball" program to take part in pregame festivities before Tuesday's series opener against the Giants.
Catcher John Baker and pitchers Edwin Jackson, Carlos Villanueva and Wesley Wright greeted 50 children from the Volunteers of America Illinois' Child Welfare and housing developments serving veterans.
"It's something I think is pretty cool, and I get a chance to intermingle with the younger fans and the people who are trying to make a difference in the community," Wright said. "It's just something that I always wanted to be a part of."
"Buses for Baseball" is anchored by the MLB Players Trust, and is geared to give underprivileged children an authentic ballpark experience. Tuesday's visit to Wrigley Field was the program's final stop of the season.
"Baseball has given me everything I have pretty much," Wright said. "It's opened doors for me to a lot of different situations and allowed me to see places that I probably would've never seen before. So I'm just grateful for the game, for what it's given to me. I just want to give something back, hopefully help someone else achieve their dreams."
• Cubs pitchers have recorded 65 quality starts in 123 games this season. Renteria said the strong outings have presented opportunities to shift his managerial approach for both starters and relievers.
"We're able to, depending on how it's set up … we can push guys back, we can push them up, just depends on how much we've used them," Renteria said. "We've had some young arms here that we still have to continue to look at. As we move forward, depending on how we proceed, we're going to hopefully have more arms to be seen."
• Loretta Dolan of Chciago celebrated her 100th birthday Tuesday by throwing out the first pitch. She was accompanied by nearly 80 guests, she said.
"This is the best way I could celebrate," Dolan said. "I enjoy coming here so much."
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.