Schwarber can play — in a pinch
But Cubs slugger not cleared for OF in Wrigley games
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
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.)