He's Back: Kyle Schwarber makes his return to Chicago

He's Back: Kyle Schwarber makes his return to Chicago

The Schwarbs is back in Chicago.

The Cubs recalled Kyle Schwarber from Triple-A Iowa early Thursday morning.

The left-handed slugger was sent down to the minors on June 22 after struggling to the tune of a .171 batting average (the lowest among qualified big-league hitters) and .673 OPS in 64 games.

Schwarber was sent down to regain confidence and fine-tune his swing so he could get back to doing damage on fastballs. 

Think it's safe to say Schwarber accomplished that goal.

After a few days off to clear his head, Schwarber reported to Iowa and mashed, hitting four homers and driving in nine runs in 11 games to go with a .343/.477/.714 slash line (1.192 OPS). Schwarber walked eight times against 12 strikeouts.

Schwarber could be the July boost this Cubs team needs as his bat changes the landscape of this lineup, especially if he can help bring stability to the leadoff spot.

It's also worth noting Schwarber dealt with some bad luck this season, as his .193 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) illustrates.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs placed John Lackey on the 10-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The team had already moved around their rotation to give Lackey some extra rest and with the four-day All-Star Break coming up next week, Lackey may not even miss a start.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998


Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.

Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis


Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis

Yu Darvish now has more trips to the disabled list in a Cubs uniform than wins.

The Cubs place their 31-year-old right-handed pitcher on the DL Saturday evening with right triceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 23, so he may only have to miss one turn through the rotation.

In a corresponding move, Randy Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to provide Joe Maddon with another arm in the bullpen. Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday in Darvish's place.

Thanks to two off-days on the schedule last week, the Cubs should be fine with their rotation for a little while. Jon Lester could go on regular rest Monday, but the Cubs would need to make a decision for Tuesday given Kyle Hendricks just threw Friday afternoon.

That decision could mean Mike Montgomery moving from the bullpen to the rotation for a spot start, or it could be the promotion of top prospect Adbert Alzolay from Triple-A Iowa.

Either way, this is more bad news for Darvish, who has had a rough go of it since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February.

Between issues with the weather, the concern of arm cramps in his debut in Miami, leg cramps in Atlanta, a trip to the disabled list for the flu, trouble making it out of the fifth inning and now triceps tendinitis, it's been a forgettable two months for Darvish.

He is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 40 innings with the Cubs.

Over the course of 139 career starts, Darvish is 57-45 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings.