Cubs

Miguel Montero believes he’s close to returning to Cubs lineup

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Miguel Montero believes he’s close to returning to Cubs lineup

This is the reality for Miguel Montero if the Cubs catcher lets his sprained left thumb completely heal: “Obviously, if I wait to be 100 percent, it’s going to be season-ending, pretty much.”

So Montero is trying to force his way back into the lineup as soon as possible, getting at least one medical opinion that framed it as a matter of how much he can tolerate the pain, a chronic injury for someone who’s caught more than 7,500 innings in the big leagues.

“In my own mind, I think I can go right now,” Montero said inside the Wrigley Field clubhouse, standing at his locker after Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.

[MORE: Jon Lester hoping front office gives Cubs a boost at trade deadline]

Montero said he’s already been hitting for a week and catching bullpen sessions at the team’s complex in Arizona. He returned to Chicago for another round of checkups, expecting to travel with the team on the road trip through Milwaukee and Pittsburgh that begins Thursday.

Montero jammed his thumb during the second-to-last game before the All-Star break, creating an opening for Kyle Schwarber, last year’s No. 4 overall pick.

Manager Joe Maddon hasn’t been comfortable with the idea of Schwarber catching Jon Lester or Jake Arrieta, moving the rookie to left field on Wednesday afternoon while the $155 million ace threw to David Ross.

The Cubs are looking for ways to keep Schwarber’s bat in the lineup. He’s hitting .357 with a 1.035 OPS through his first 19 games in The Show.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans]

“Wherever I can help the team,” Schwarber said.

It’s unclear if Schwarber will ultimately prove the doubters wrong and stay behind the plate, but this obviously creates big-picture questions about Montero, who has two years and $28 million left on his contract.

“I can’t control that,” Montero said. “I just do my job the best I can.”

Either way, the Cubs might be getting a two-time All-Star catcher back sooner rather than later, and maybe that functions as a trade-deadline addition for a lineup starving for offense.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

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Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs' managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada's name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race. 

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week. 

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

As Kelly Crull hinted at in her tweet, Ross's position with the franchise definitely makes his negotiations about the managerial opening a bit more fluid, which may lead to fewer updates on his specific discussions with the team.  

Ross and Espada certainly sound like the favorites to land the Cubs' managerial opening, as our own David Kaplan stated that manager Joe Girardi, who has been connected to the Cubs throughout this search, looks like the front-runner for the Philadephia Phillies managerial spot. 

The 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros kicks off on Tuesday night. Traditionally you do not see MLB franchises make their managerial hiring announcements during the World Series,  so the Cubs' announcement could come on one of the World Series off-days, as early as Thursday. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.