Kyle Schwarber plays in first Arizona Fall League game … Possibility Cubs use Schwarber as a DH and pinch-hitter during The World Series
The Chicago Cubs have won the National League Pennant and are going to the World Series. The Fall Classic begins Tuesday and the Cubs might have the option of using Kyle Schwarber as their designated hitter for the games in Cleveland.
Schwarber received clearance from his doctor in Dallas on Monday and started ramping up his batting practice with the possibility of being able to play in The World Series. Schwarber asked for the opportunity and the Cubs are hoping he will be ready by Tuesday.
Schwarber took batting practice with the team at Dodger Stadium. Thursday he was at the team’s facility in Mesa. Cubs’ prospect James Farris threw batting practice to him Thursday.
Schwarber was activated Saturday from the 60-day DL and officially added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster. Schwarber started as the Sox’s DH and batted second in his first game action since April.
Schwarber is wearing a brace on his left knee. He can run the bases but cannot play in the field. If he is on The World Series roster it would only be as a designated hitter or a pinch-hitter for the games at Wrigley.
Schwarber went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game action since April. Schwarber grounded out softly to first base in his first at-bat. In his second at-bat, he worked a full count before grounding out to second. Schwarber walked against lefty Jared Miller in his third at-bat. Schwarber lined out to center in his last at-bat against southpaw Gabe Speier. Noel Cuevas made a diving catch to take away a hit from Schwarber.
Schwarber talked with the media in Mesa after the game. Schwarber said he felt good and had no problems physically. Thought he was rusty in his first two at-bats and started to get his timing in the third and fourth plate appearances. Schwarber was not concerned about his knee while he was playing Saturday. According to Tommy Stokke, Schwarber was “more worried about his hands than his knee.” Schwarber has about eight blisters from swinging a bat.
Schwarber did not have specifics on a timeline and the World Series. He said he will be with the team in Cleveland on Tuesday “either cheering or whatever it is.”
Here's a little bit of Kyle Schwarber post game pic.twitter.com/1qcSdLBYBW
— Matthew Lively (@livelyasu) October 23, 2016
Schwarber did not think playing this early was even possible until he met with his doctor on Monday. Schwarber was working with the timeframe of returning in Spring Training. Schwarber is a month ahead of schedule at this point.
The Cubs are going to evaluate Schwarber on Sunday and determine his next step at that point. The team’s medical staff is watching him closely.
Theo Epstein said before Game 6 that the Cubs are “going to evaluate him day-to-day from a medical standpoint and from a baseball-readiness standpoint.”
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) October 22, 2016
— Tommy Stokke (@StokkeTommy) October 22, 2016
Schwarber is expected to participate in a simulated game Sunday. The Arizona Fall League does not play on Sundays. The Cubs watched his first two at bats on a monitor at Wrigley before turning their full attention to Game 6 and the team on the field that was on the verge of winning a pennant. Epstein said after the Cubs won the Pennant that Schwarber could play in an AFL game on Monday.
The Cubs are keeping all options open and will only do what is best for the team and Schwarber. If the Cubs do not think he is ready to play and help contribute to the team, Schwarber will not be placed on the World Series roster.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Comcast SportsNet – Video of Kyle Schwarber being sprayed with champagne by Fall League teammates after Cubs win the NL Pennant
- Report from MLB.com