Baseball / Sports

All-Star possibility pumping up Anthony Rizzo

CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo took the lead Wednesday night for the National League Final Vote, and he expressed his appreciation for the support.

The winner of the roster spot for the All-Star Game will be revealed Thursday.

"It's humbling," Rizzo said. "To see everyone reaching out, they don't have to do that. I never really had my hopes up, and now they're up."

Rizzo acknowledged he faces a stiff challenge from Justin Morneau of the Rockies and three other players heading into the final day of voting that ends at 3 p.m. Thursday. Morneau's storyline is great as he's recovering from post-concussion syndrome and the game will be played Tuesday night in Minneapolis, where Morneau became a star with the Twins.

"All five of us, you could make the argument we deserve to be there," Rizzo said. "Morneau is a good player. So are the other four. Everyone has their adversity they went through as well, not just the final candidates. I'm sure every player has gone through it."

On the field, Rizzo made a late push with a 3-for-5 performance in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday against the Reds, and then he hit his 20th homer in the third inning Wednesday night.

"I don't think it hurt," Rizzo said. "The voting came out Sunday, I hit a home run Monday and Tuesday, so I don't think it hurt. But I'm really pleased with how everyone has reached out."

SCOUTING REPORT

Kyle Hendricks, who played in the talent-deep Rangers system before joining the Cubs organization two years ago, raved about Triple-A Iowa slugger Kris Bryant.

"He's definitely the best player I've played with," Hendricks said. "It's unbelievable. The first two games after he came up, he struggled a little bit.

"It took only two games to adjust. He has been ripping the cover off the ball. Some of the home runs, he spreads them out -- right field, center field, left. Unbelievable."

As for recently promoted second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, Hendricks said, "We were joking around about it in Triple A. It seems he gets seven hits every game. You turn around, and he's 3-for-4, 4-for-4 every game.

"He has been unbelievable too. It has been cool watching all the guys down there. They feed off each other."

Hendricks said Alcantara is stronger than his 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame suggests, especially in the outfield.

"He struggled a little bit, but his arm is so good and he put in a lot of work," Hendricks said. "It didn't take long for him to look natural.

"He has power from both sides of the plate, unbelievable pop. He's up there with (Javier) Baez and Bryant as far as pop."

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