ST. LOUIS – It still sounds doubtful Kyle Schwarber will be ready for this showdown at Busch Stadium, but the Cubs are feeling optimistic about his return from a strained rib cage.
“I’m not ruling it out,” Schwarber said before Monday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. “I want to be (back). But I don’t know how everything else is going to play out. My goal is to get back for a game or two this series.”
Schwarber felt good on Labor Day after going through a normal routine in the batting cage and playing catch with quality-assurance coach Henry Blanco.
The Cubs have been cautious with Schwarber, who became a late scratch from the lineup on Sept. 2 after feeling something while warming up in the Wrigley Field batting cage.
Schwarber said he doesn’t feel a grabbing sensation on his right side: “Not anymore.”
“I really can’t put a number on it, because the injury is so difficult,” Schwarber said. “You can feel good – and then the next thing you know you reinjure yourself. It’s just kind of taking it day-by-day and trying to get back to working in the motions and making sure I still feel comfortable at the same time.”
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Schwarber has been a huge part of this second-half surge for a playoff contender, generating 12 homers, 35 runs scored and 32 RBI since the All-Star break. This is still the first full season of professional baseball for the catcher/outfielder the Cubs drafted No. 4 overall out of Indiana University last year.
Schwarber hasn’t yet experienced the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry up close and his big left-handed bat could be a difference-maker.
“I want to play right now,” Schwarber said. “This is going to be fun. That’s another reason I’m chomping at the bit to get back out here. It’s the Cardinals. Big series. Great stadium. Great fans.”