It was 19 years ago when Robin Ventura fractured his right ankle sliding into home plate during a spring training game, an injury that cost him most of the 1997 season.
Ventura’s injury was gruesome, but ultimately not as serious as the one Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber suffered Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL — the same injury suffered by former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith that has knocked him from being projected to be a consensus top NFL Draft pick to well out of the first round — and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
But from one person who’s dealt with a significant injury to another, Ventura said it “makes you sick to your stomach.”
[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]
Ventura saw the replay of Schwarber’s injury and initially hoped for the best.
“I just saw it real quick and you saw him get up and walk so you are hoping that was just an ankle sprain like they had said,” Ventura said. “It’s bad news all the way around. You don’t wish that on anybody.”
Ventura returned for 54 games in 1997 but didn’t re-gain his offensive form until 1999. But with advancements in modern medicine, Ventura is optimistic the 23-year-old Schwarber can return to the his promising trajectory sooner rather than later.
“He has a better chance than I (had),” Ventura said. “I think they do great things with knees and things like that. Mine was different. But I hope he can still catch and do all the stuff that he was, that everybody is expecting him to do in his career.”