Cubs

Cubs promoting Kyle Schwarber to The Show

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Cubs promoting Kyle Schwarber to The Show

The Cubs are making another bold, aggressive move, promoting top prospect Kyle Schwarber from Double-A Tennessee for what amounts to a crash course in The Show.

Schwarber will join the team on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, though the 22-year-old catcher won’t start against the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs will then need a designated hitter for five road games against the Indians and Minnesota Twins, and Schwarber is a huge left-handed bat with 31 homers and a 1.043 OPS through 129 career games at four different minor-league affiliates.

The plan is for Schwarber to join Triple-A Iowa after this weekend’s interleague series in Minnesota, but the experience should set him up to at least be a September call-up, if not a contributor during a pennant race.  

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

It’s been a meteoric rise for Schwarber, last year’s No. 4 overall pick out of Indiana University. He had been hitting .318 with 13 homers and 39 RBI through 57 games at Tennessee.

“Kyle has had a tremendous developmental year so far behind the plate, with the bat and as a leader,” team president Theo Epstein wrote in a prepared text message. “His next step is to continue his development as a catcher at Triple-A.

“First, however, he is going to join the major-league team for six days to contribute as a designated hitter, as a bat off the bench and as a third catcher.

“He will also use the time in the big leagues to experience first-hand all that goes into being a major-league catcher. Regardless of how this week goes, Kyle will head to Triple-A after Sunday’s game.”

[MORE: Cubs riding the ups and downs of Starlin Castro]

Manager Joe Maddon wanted Schwarber in the conversation when the Cubs discussed their options for last week’s interleague series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, calling it “a perfect window of opportunity.”

The Cubs didn’t promote Schwarber at that point, and there are legitimate questions about whether he will stick at catcher or eventually move to left field.

But it can’t hurt being exposed to veteran catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross, the team’s scouting/video infrastructure and the speed of the game at this level. And Schwarber has kept that door open, showing enough improvement during offseason workouts and big-league camp. 

“With all the work he’s done,” farm director Jaron Madison recently told The Des Moines Register, “we’re more certain than ever that he’s going to stay behind the plate long-term. We’re committed to that right now.”

In an entertaining season that has already seen the big-league debuts of mega-prospects Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, this news broke with a tweet from Daniel Vogelbach, the Tennessee first baseman and a Southern League All-Star:

 

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: