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Cubs’ Kris Bryant received quite an education in hitting

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Updated: August 14, 2013 6:15AM



Mike Bryant, a part-time hitting instructor, learned something about baseball from one of the greatest who ever played the game, and he passed it on to his son Kris.

‘‘I was a ninth-round draft pick the year [1980] Darryl Strawberry and Billy Beane were drafted, and I spent two spring trainings with the Red Sox,’’ Mike Bryant said. ‘‘Ted Williams was there. My name came up with three other guys that he would work with. We were told to get there at 6 a.m.

‘‘I was the first one there and got there at five minutes to 6, and he said, ‘You’re late. If you’re not here a half-hour early, you’re late.’

‘‘I taught that to Kris. When you have someone who has talent, you don’t set out to become a major-league ballplayer, but I knew he had a shot.’’

Bryant, 21, hit the bull’s-eye as the second overall pick in the draft, signing a $6.7 million bonus deal with the Cubs as their projected power-hitting third baseman of the future.

‘‘It’s another step forward for the Cubs,’’ team president Theo Epstein said Friday as Bryant was introduced. ‘‘He’s a very good kid. He’s very polished and handled what could be an intimidating day with a lot of poise.

‘‘Most important, it’s really cool to see how happy the family is. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a long journey to become a professional, and now it’s the start of a special journey to get where he wants to be.’’

Bryant took batting practice at Wrigley Field, but his work will begin in Mesa, Ariz., for a short time before joining Class A Boise (short-season affiliate).

‘‘I’m going to go out there to do my best and help teams win games,’’ said Bryant, flanked by Epstein and agent Scott Boras.

‘‘I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and you could put on one hand the kind of players who have this power, and you add the character he has,’’ Boras said. ‘‘He’ll be a cornerstone piece [for the Cubs].’’

Bryant led the college ranks with 31 home runs in 62 games at the University of San Diego. Cubs manager Dale Sveum has compared him to slugger Troy Glaus, and he’s considered a sound defender.

Bryant and Epstein avoided projecting a development timetable, but Bryant has shown self-confidence, saying Friday that he wasn’t surprised at his home-run total this season.

‘‘I expect a lot out of myself,’’ he said. ‘‘I put a lot of expectations on myself. I know I have the talent to do things on the field. I’m blessed with a lot of talent.’’

Bryant spoke of his parents, Mike and Susie, who raised him with an eye on education first, and added that his father’s brief minor-league career helped him ‘‘avoid the potholes’’ in his growth.

‘‘If you put education first, it would deliver the opportunity,’’ Mike Bryant said, adding that his son was invited to apply for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarship programs.



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