The Cubs are leaving the door open for Ben Zobrist to possibly return to action at some point this season.
Ahead of Thursday’s game against the Dodgers, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters in Los Angeles, including ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, that he’s been in touch with Zobrist. Epstein said that a return from the 38-year-old Zobrist is possible later this season.
"There's been a little definition added to how he hopes this thing might go," Epstein said before Thursday's game. "I've been in constant touch with Zobrist. He knows the door is open. I think he's got an idea in mind on how he would like this to go, but his priorities are clear — that's family first."
Zobrist last played on May 6 against the Marlins and was placed on the restricted list for personal reasons on May 8. It was later revealed via court records that he and his wife, Julianna, are going through a divorce.
In 26 games this season, Zobrist is slashing .241/.343/.253 with no home runs, 10 RBI and 14 walks compared to 12 strikeouts. Since joining the Cubs in 2016, though, he's posted a .269/.362/.412 slashline, providing a young Cubs core with a veteran, contact-oriented bat to stabilize the lineup.
Without Zobrist, the Cubs have used a rotation of David Bote (25 games), Daniel Descalso (35 games) and Addison Russell (20 games) at second base while also signing Carlos González to add outfield depth. Descalso has struggled over the last month or so, though, slashing .103/.221/.138 in 58 at-bats his last 30 games.
The initial results from González — who struggled in 30 games with the Indians — have been positive, though, as he has hit well (.261/.379/.478) in his first seven games with the Cubs while providing solid outfield defense.
Nonetheless, the team certainly misses Zobrist, a clubhouse leader, versatile defender and consistent presence in the batters' box. If he can return this season, he'd be more than a welcomed addition to the Cubs' lineup.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.