Cubs

Kyle Schwarber making an instant impact for Cubs

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Kyle Schwarber making an instant impact for Cubs

CLEVELAND — Is there any potential scenario where the Cubs keep Kyle Schwarber around longer than this six-game audition?

“No,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Unless we move to the American League.”

The Cubs usually like to parse language, overthink things and keep all options open. But they haven’t left any wiggle room with Schwarber, who is maximizing his time as a designated hitter before heading to Triple-A Iowa to continue developing as a catcher.

Schwarber has already shown that he can handle big-league pitching, blasting his first home run during Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians in front of 15,891 at Progressive Field. The Cubs are getting instant offense with Schwarber, who has six hits in his first 10 at-bats in The Show, scoring five runs and driving in four more.

“It’s surprisingly not that much different,” Schwarber said. “It is better stuff. But you just got to go up there with a good approach. I’m just trying to get my pitch. And when I do get my pitch — don’t miss it.”

[MORE CUBS: Why Joe Maddon ordered Tsuyoshi Wada to say 'I am a badass']

Not that the Cubs had any doubts about Schwarber’s left-handed bat after watching him pile up 31 homers and 92 RBIs in his first 130 games in the minors. But keep in mind this is someone who didn’t make his professional debut until June 13 last year after getting drafted fourth overall out of Indiana University.

This is what the Cubs envisioned, Schwarber working a 3-2 count and launching Danny Salazar’s 96 mph fastball 375 feet into the left-field seats for a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

It counted after a second rain delay that lasted one hour and 16 minutes and knocked out starting pitcher Jason Hammel, who gave up three runs in four innings and labeled Schwarber as part of “the best group of young kids I’ve been around, for sure.”

“He puts the barrel on the ball real nice,” said Hammel, who pitched in the playoffs for the Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles and went to the 2008 World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“He’s got a very, very good approach at the plate, as you can see. It’s a tough out right now. It’s pretty impressive for a young guy that’s just come up and kind of getting his feet wet.

“We were expecting to maybe just get a look at him, but he’s actually made a pretty big impact just in the few games so far.”

[MORE CUBS: How would Joe Maddon handle Pablo Sandoval’s Instagram problem?]

Is there any buzz in the clubhouse about lobbying to keep Schwarber around?

“Oh yeah, we always want to lobby for guys that are hitting the ball hard like he is,” Hammel said. “But that’s obviously not our realm. He’s a great kid. He’s going to be good for a long time.

“Hopefully, he stays, but obviously that’s something for the front office.”

The media flocked to Schwarber before and after his big-league debut on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Reporters did the same thing again on Wednesday inside the visiting clubhouse.

Schwarber, who grew up outside Cincinnati, had about 40 or 50 guests here in Cleveland, and he must be hearing the what-if questions from all angles.

“I always just try to keep my head buried, man,” Schwarber said. “I don’t like to think about that stuff, because that can mess with me when I’m up at the plate.”

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

Schwarber sees the organization’s big picture and wants to finish his education at catcher. He’s not looking to transfer to left field next week, even if it meant playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Wrigleyville.

“(Catching is) something that I want to do, personally,” he said. “If it takes more time, it takes more time. That’s what I want to do. I’ve always done it. I have a true passion for it.”

Still, Schwarber will be only one phone call away in Des Moines, and the Cubs (35-29) will be playing to win. There will come a point — maybe in August — where he will have caught enough this season and won’t have anything left to prove as a hitter in the minors.

Until then, enjoy these three DH games against the Minnesota Twins. The Schwarber Show is coming to Target Field.

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...