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Cubs' Kris Bryant ready to 'continue' his 2015, celebrate David Ross

MESA, Ariz. -- Picking up where he left off shouldn’t be a problem for the National League Rookie of the Year, considering Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is treating 2016 like a “continuation” of last season. As for the pressure of his team being picked to win it all, he’ll worry about that later.

“'Expectations' is a word we don’t have to pay attention to yet,” Bryant said Wednesday.

Bryant and his teammates will take the field Wednesday for the first time this spring with potential All-Stars all over the diamond.

“I’m looking at it as a continuation of last year with a three to four month break,” he said.

That could be bad news for opposing pitchers, as Bryant belted 26 home runs with 99 RBIs in his rookie season. This time around, he wants to make more contact.

“Something that stood out to me this offseason is when I got my pitch, I didn’t hit it all the time,” Bryant said. “I fouled it off or swung through it. That’s exciting to me, because the year I had last year was pretty good, but if I could get better at hitting those pitches, it could be even better. So I’m excited for that.”

Bryant is unique in that he actually embraces his struggles.

“It’s a roller coaster ride,” he said. “I wouldn’t be playing this game if it wasn’t like that. I enjoy the adversity because it only gets better.”

As for those team expectations, spring training isn’t the place for them to sink in. Maybe once the regular season starts, but with the Cubs' young, talented core combined with veteran additions like Jason Heyward, the last thing Bryant or anyone else is feeling is pressure.

“At ease is a perfect word,” Bryant said. “Us young guys have our feet wet. We’re not nervous, we’re not trying to go out there and do everything all in one at-bat. It’s nice to have that pressure lifted off of you and just go out and play your game.”

To keep things light when the pressure does mount, Bryant and his teammates have David Ross. Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo are going to document the popular catcher’s final season in the big leagues using an Instagram account: @Grandparossy_3.

“He’s very underrated,” Bryant said. “You see all the retirement tours for Derek Jeter and David Ortiz. We think Ross deserves it too, but we’re going to do it in our own little way, have fun with it, probably because Ross is the best teammate I’ve ever had. I’m definitely going to miss him. Hopefully he comes back as a manager someday and I get to play for him.”

The 38-year-old Ross and 24-year-old Bryant are from different generations, and once in a while it comes up, like when Ross called Bryant to the back of the bus on a road trip last season.

“He’s like, ‘Kris, I need a good hashtag for my tweet,’” Bryant recalled. “That’s when you know he’s a little older. I don’t know if he understands Instagram. We’re having fun with it. We hope to catch him in those moments where he’s not expecting it. It will be fun for the fans to see, because he’s a trip.”

Why so much respect for Ross?

“I just look at him and how much fun he has and why he plays the game, and that’s how we all should do it,” Bryant said. “He thinks us young guys are just stupid.”