Cubs

/ by Tony Andracki
Presented By Cubs Insiders
Cubs

The Cubs will be without their former World Series MVP for a little while.

Ben Zobrist was granted a leave of absence for a personal matter, hitting the restricted list Wednesday afternoon. There is no timetable for his return and the Cubs won't divulge details about the off-field issue.

Zobrist was originally penciled into the Cubs' lineup Tuesday night, hitting eighth and playing left field. But he was scratched about an hour before the game for a "personal matter" and has not been around the team since. He also reported a few days late to spring training for a personal matter in February.

"The only thing appropriate for me to communicate is he's requested a leave of absence from the team for personal/family reasons," Theo Epstein said Wednesday afternoon. "That leave was granted and he'll be away from the team for a period of time. If and when it's appropriate for him to provide further detail or clarification, he will."

Zobrist turns 38 later this month and is in the last year of his deal with the Cubs. He spent the last couple weeks of April marred in a slump, but was showing signs of coming out of it lately, going 5-for-14 (.357) with 5 RBI, 5 walks and 5 runs in his last 5 games.

He was also playing really solid defense in the outfield, including some spectacular plays against the Cardinals over the weekend.

Still, he hasn't looked quite like vintage Zobrist yet this year (only 1 extra-base hit) and Joe Maddon believes the off-field issues may have played a role.

 

"It could have, yeah," Maddon said. "He would be the first to admit that maybe he wasn't quite himself. We're just wanting this to work out well for him, obviously, and just be patient with the whole thing."

Zobrist's absence and Daniel Descalso's ankle injury prompted the Cubs to call up Addison Russell a week earlier than they originally planned. Russell started at second base and batted eight in Wednesday's game.

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