I still can’t get through a Jason Hammel start – like tonight’s – without immediately getting bummed out that it’s not Kyle Schwarber squatting behind the plate.
But his time will come again. That much, we know.
Of course, that time will not come until Spring Training 2017 at the earliest, because Schwarber tore his ACL and his LCL, and severely sprained his left ankle on a collision with Dexter Fowler in left center field, not a week into the 2016 season. Although Schwarber’s surgery was deemed a success, his knee rehab is progressing smoothly, and he’s up and walking around, the entire process isn’t just about waiting it out. There’s a lot of hard work and plenty of luck needed, but thankfully, things appear to be right on schedule.
At the Dailey Herald (Bruce Miles), CSN Chicago (JJ Stankevitz) and the Chicago Tribune (Paul Sullivan) we get confirmation from Theo Epstein that there’s no hope for Schwarber to return in time for the playoffs (should the Cubs be there), but that the process has been going quite well, overall. He has reportedly been fitted with a new brace that is far less “onerous” than his previous one, is walking without crutches and has his next check-up scheduled for August.
But that doesn’t mean Schwarber hasn’t remained in contact and support of the team. We’ve seen him in the dugout from time to time, and, apparently, he was even involved in the draft room. “He’s always looking for ways to contribute to the organization,” Epstein said, per the reports. “He’s been helping the advanced scouts, been breaking down opposing hitters. It was neat for us to have him sit in the draft room for three or four days and help out the scouts, add some levity to the room. It was great having him around.”
It’s pretty cool that both he and the Cubs are interested in keeping the relationship tight, because it’s possible that Schwarber can still learn a lot this year, while gaining some other, important developmental goodness he wouldn’t have been able to obtain otherwise. It’s always a bummer to lose someone for this amount of time, but with Jorge Soler’s explosion (just before an injury of his own), Willson Contreras’ surprise call-up, and the knowledge Schwarber can glean from working with coaches and scouts, perhaps there’s at least a real silver lining behind all of the ugliness.
As always, we’ll keep you right on top of the updates for this story, but it sounds like it’ll be mostly status-quo until his check up in August. Heal fast, Kyle. We miss ya.