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Rockies’ Bryant focuses on returning to baseball shape

Kris Bryant has an offseason home in Las Vegas. He trains at Las Vegas Ballpark during the winter.

Yet he said it was odd to be in his hometown during the baseball season.

“It feels pretty weird being here in the summer when I’m not supposed to be,” Bryant said. “My family being back in Colorado feels weird, and so does having the empty house by myself.”

The Bonanza High School graduate is back in Las Vegas on a rehab assignment with the Colorado Rockies’ Triple-A team, the Albuquerque Isotopes, during their six-game series against the Las Vegas Aviators.

Bryant, who signed with the Rockies on a seven-year, $182 million deal this past offseason, has appeared in 17 games this season as he battles a back injury.

After playing six innings in left field Tuesday night in his first rehab start, Bryant said he felt a little sore but admitted that was expected. Bryant has focused on getting his body to feel right to be part of the Rockies’ everyday lineup.

“Getting back into baseball shape, that’s the toughest thing,” Bryant said. “Standing out in the outfield for three hours, you can’t really train for that.”

In Triple-A, Bryant has gotten a first-hand experience at the rule changes installed before the beginning of the season that could be implemented in the major leagues in the near future.

Bryant called the move for bigger bases a “no-brainer,” citing player safety as to why the move would be good for MLB. He does not mind the pitch clock, even though it is not in use for him when he is at bat because he is on an MLB rehab assignment.

As for the automated ball-and-strike system, Bryant is hesitant to approve it for the majors.

“I think it would be beneficial, but I don’t think it should be endorsed fully in the big leagues yet,” he said.

From his observations and talks with his Albuquerque teammates, Bryant feels there is still some ambiguity since ABS adds an extra inch on each side of the strike zone. But he is hopeful the concerns will be addressed in time before it is used in MLB.

In regard to the continuing rumors about his hometown landing a big league team, Bryant is confident the city can support a team. He cited the success of the Raiders and Golden Knights as to why Las Vegas would be a good fit for MLB.

If a big league team did decide to call Las Vegas home, Bryant said there would have to be one condition.

“(The stadium) has to be indoors,” he said. “It gets a little warm here in the summer.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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