Sch­war­ber can play — in a pinch

But Cubs slug­ger not cleared for OF in Wrigley games

Baltimore Sun - - NHL NBA - By Mark Gon­za­les

CHICAGO — The sur­real hit­ting per­for­mance of Kyle Sch­war­ber in the first two games of the World Se­ries can’t be repli­cated in games 3, 4 and 5 against the In­di­ans this week­end at Wrigley Field be­cause the Cubs med­i­cal staff didn’t clear the young slug­ger for out­field play.

But his team­mates can fol­low his lead in work­ing deep counts and be­ing se­lec­tively ag­gres­sive at the plate while tak­ing ad­van­tage of the com­forts of home for the first Se­ries games since 1945.

“Kyle pro­vided a nice spark, just by see­ing his qual­ity at-bats,” Kris Bryant said. “Ev­ery­one feeds off that, keep­ing the chain mov­ing.”

Pres­i­dent Theo Ep­stein ac­knowl­edged his dis­ap­point­ment that Sch­war­ber, who went 3-for-7 with two walks in games 1 and 2, will be avail­able only for pinch­hit­ting duty for the next three games be­cause there is no des­ig­nated hit­ter in Na­tional League parks.

But he re­it­er­ated his faith in an of­fense that posted all but two of its 103 reg­u­larsea­son vic­to­ries with­out Sch­war­ber after he tore two lig­a­ments in his left knee.

“[But] we now have Kyle off the bench to take maybe the most im­por­tant at-bat in the game at a given point,” Ep­stein said.

Sch­war­ber was told he couldn’t play in the field be­fore the Cubs’ work­out Thurs­day, in which he smacked sev­eral home runs dur­ing bat­ting prac­tice but Cubs slug­ger Kyle Sch­war­ber, who went 3-for-7 in Games 1 and 2, stretches dur­ing a work­out Thurs­day at Wrigley Field. merely stood in left field with coaches Dave Martinez and Mike Borzello.

“It’s not dis­ap­point­ing at all,” Sch­war­ber said. “It was a long shot at [best]. Ob­vi­ously, I want to be out there for my team­mates. It’s just the com­peti­tor in­side me, but facts are facts. I just can’t phys­i­cally do it. I’m go­ing to be ready at any time to pinch hit.”

Sch­war­ber ini­tially tried to chal­lenge the de­ci­sion from Daniel Cooper, who per­formed his surgery in April, and team or­tho­pe­dist Stephen Gry­zlo but be­came more re­al­is­tic as he gath­ered more in­for­ma­tion.

“No one’s go­ing to be up­set about this de­ci­sion,” Sch­war­ber said. “So I’m not. I’m em­brac­ing the [pinch­hit] role.”

Cubs pitch­ers bat­ted a re­spectable .157 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, and Sch­war­ber is ex­cited about his pinch-hit­ting du­ties for the next three games.

“Not many peo­ple get this op­por­tu­nity that I’m in right now, so I’m em­brac­ing [it] and I’m go­ing to cheer my team­mates on,” Sch­war­ber said. “And when my time comes, I’m go­ing to be ready.”

So are his team­mates, who look to cre­ate their own legacy of the Cubs win­ning the World Se­ries for the first time since 1908.

“It is a new age,” short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell said. “We have this young core. We have a chance to not only do some­thing great this year but do some­thing great with years to come. With the ca­ma­raderie on the team, we can only get stronger.”

Even if it means Sch­war­ber com­ing off the bench for the next three games.

“Who knows if he gets a big pinch hit?” sec­ond base­man Javier Baez said. “Why not?” All games on Fox

CHRIS SWEDA/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Game 1: Game 2: Game 3: Game 4: Game 5: Game 6: Game 7:

In­di­ans 6, Cubs 0 Cubs 5, In­di­ans 1 In­di­ans (Tom­lin) at Cubs (Hen­dricks), 8 tonight In­di­ans (Klu­ber) at Cubs (Lackey), 8 p.m. Sat. In­di­ans (Bauer) at Cubs (Lester), 8 p.m. Sun. Cubs (Ar­ri­eta) at In­di­ans (Tom­lin), 8 p.m. Tues­day (if nec.) Cubs (Hen­dricks) at In­di­ans (Klu­ber), 8 p.m. Wed­nes­day (if nec.)

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