We’ll get back to the less bright stuff from last night’s 6-0 loss, but I wanted to make sure to spotlight just how impressive Kyle Schwarber’s return was.
First of all, there’s the simple fact that he is back on the field and competing with a surgically-reconstructed knee just six and a half months after his original injury. The expected timeline for returning from an ACL tear is in that six to nine month window, but the conventional wisdom that I’ve seen indicates an ACL tear combined with other damage in the knee makes it almost impossible to return on the short end of that window. Heck, I remember not so long ago that an ACL tear was thought to be a nine to twelve month injury. Schwarber is already back, and that’s a testament to how crazy hard he must have worked in the last half year.
Then there is how he actually looked last night.
Setting aside the fact that he came within a couple feet of a homer off a guy who was dominating the rest of the lineup, and setting aside the fact that he worked a walk against the best pitching going in baseball right now, Schwarber simply looked good at the plate. He looked like the Schwarber we remember. That’s really all you would hope for from a guy in his situation and with his talent, and he delivered.
Can you imagine being away from live, competitive pitching for six months, then taking some batting practice for a few days, playing in a couple Arizona Fall League games, and then immediately being expected to put together competitive at bats against Corey freaking Kluber and Andrew freaking Miller in the World freaking Series? It’s almost only in retrospect that I realize how utterly insane that ask was … and yet, here we are, with Schwarber essentially looking like Schwarber.
His first hit of the season was a double off the wall in the World Series. You just have to shake your head and enjoy the ride.
You can see the highlights from Schwarber’s night in this video, together with some of his comments after the game:
The double, by the way, was not necessarily “crushed” – it was 96mph off the bat, and would only be a home run 12% of the time, per Daren Willman. Given the way Kluber was dealing, it was still an excellent ball strike, though.
Schwarber will be in there again tonight as the designated hitter, but don’t look for him in the outfield when the series goes to Wrigley Field – Schwarber hasn’t been medically cleared to play defense, and he, himself, said it won’t happen (Cubs.com).
Not a bad pinch hitter to have in the waiting, though, eh?
In any case, it’s really good to see Schwarber back out there – World Series or not – after his injury back in April. We all reasonably thought that wouldn’t come until next Spring. This has all been a very pleasant surprise.