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.

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki discuss the comments Chili Davis made after being fired as Cubs hitting coach, ask if the Cubs struggles on offense were Davis' fault or the players and what Anthony Iapoce will be walking into as he tries to gets the team back on track a the plate.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here, or in the embedded player below:

 

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers.