For having played in less than a weeks’ worth of games, Kyle Schwarber has certainly affected my emotional well-being an awful lot this season.
Of course, the biggest impact came early in the year, when Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL and severely sprained his ankle during a collision with Dexter Fowler in left-center field.
Learning that one of the Cubs best and most popular players in Kyle Schwarber would be out for the season was pretty a devastating development, but I had come to peace with it. In fact, I think we all had. Schwarber was rehabbing successfully, Willson Contreras’ breakout helped tide us over, and a return in the Spring of 2017 was still firmly on the radar. And then four little words brought everything back.
“Most likely probably not.”
When Schwarber uttered those four words, after being asked about a potential return this season, the emotional flood gates reopened. Could he return for a magical postseason run? Where would he play? What would this mean? Alas, months of hard work spent trying to forget the pain of losing Schwarber for the season was undone in a matter of minutes. Now, I wanted him back this season. This October. But it always remained unlikely, and now we have confirmation.
According to Theo Epstein, Kyle Schwarber will not be returning in 2016. Period.
Speaking to reporters before yesterday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein firmly closed the door on a surprise Kyle Schwarber return in 2016: “No, he can’t play this year.”
It doesn’t get much more concrete than that.
Although, to be fair, a magical Schwarber return for the postseason run was always farfetched. After all, the Spring 2017 estimated return wasn’t ever a guarantee when his rehab began – so anything before that would be nothing short of miraculous. Plus, with Minor League seasons ending at the beginning of September, Schwarber wouldn’t have had anywhere to go for much-needed live/game-action to get back into playing shape/timing.
And to be even more clear, he wouldn’t have just needed to get his timing back, he would have, in effect, needed the equivalent of another Spring Training – that’s what happens when you don’t play for 4.5 months. There just isn’t time, let alone a guarantee that he’d be a better option than some of the other Cubs who’ve been otherwise hitting their stride here in August.
So I’m sorry to disappoint the dreamers out there, but it isn’t going to happen. The boss-man said no, so keep your hearts set on 2017. And hey, maybe the Cubs can do something special in between to take your mind back off it, eh?