According to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic Chicago, Kyle Schwarber will be joining the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League with the open possibility of returning to the Chicago Cubs as a designated hitter in the World Series.
The Cubs will face Clayton Kershaw tonight for their right to make their first World Series since 1945 while Schwarber takes cuts at Sloan Park.
Ironically, Schwarber will begin his on-field rehab in the same state that cut his 2016 campaign short. In the third game of the year, he collided with Dexter Fowler going after a gap-shot fly ball, tearing his ACL and LCL in the process.
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What we’ve been missing
Many thought this injury spelled the end of Schwarber’s tenure in Chicago. As the trade deadline loomed, rumors confirming their fears began to swirl. Cubs President Theo Epstein reportedly shot down numerous teams looking to land Chicago’s prized left-handed slugger, including the New York Yankees when they offered up Andrew Miller in a 1-for-1 deal.
As Schwarber began working out publicly following his injury, reporters began asking if we’d see him in the lineup again this year. Epstein played it cool, saying that winter ball was the earliest action the young slugger would see.
Cubs ace Jon Lester recently remarked about how hard Schwarber has been working to get back with the club.
“He’s there every day working his butt off,” Lester said. “You see him coming in from the weight room and he’s drenched and we know how hard he’s working to try to get back to help us. He doesn’t look for attention. You turn around and he’s drenched and soaking wet in sweat and just gone through a working and there’s a very slim chance he could be playing for us.”
Because the American League won the All-Star Game, the Cleveland Indians will have home-field advantage in the World Series. This leaves the Designated Hitter spot open for Cubs skipper Joe Maddon to utilize. Seeing Schwarber fill that position would be a Christmas-come-early moment for Cubs fans, if he can take in-game at-bats.
Chicago still needs to get through Kershaw in Game 6 and a possible Game 7 if they want to make this dream a reality.
What we’re getting back
Schwarber slugged .487 and had an OPS of .842 in his rookie year, crushing 16 home runs as well. His five career postseason home runs make him Chicago’s all-time leader.
In the playoffs, Schwarber boosted his SLG and OPS to .889, and 1.308 respectively. He hit two mammoth home runs during that postseason campaign as well. One landed in the Allegheny River and the other is famously encased below the Budweiser sign at Wrigley Field.
Certainly. Cubs-faithful would love to see their young stud in the lineup before the season ends. But, it’s more important that Schwarber is back for all 162 games next year, not just the last seven of this year.