Early last week, we became collectively giddy, as Kyle Schwarber ran figure-eights around a few cones at Wrigley Field (the simple things in life).
From that update, we gleaned that the schedule and the prognosis remain unchanged (Spring Training 2017 is the target), but the visual of Schwarber running and the prospect of some Winter League action was all it took to raise our collective spirits.
But, as they tend to, questions persisted.
Will Schwarber ever catch again? How has he been staying sharp? Will he be game ready come April? Jesse Rogers recently caught up with Kyle Schwarber over at ESPN and held a little Q&A to get to the bottom of all of those and more – check it out right here.
The biggest revelation, however, is that Kyle Schwarber fully intends on catching when he returns to the Major Leagues next year, and has been doing all he can to prepare for that. But did we expect any less of him?
According to Schwarber, he will not allow his knee injury stand in the way of his catching career. He looks around the league and sees other catchers like Buster Posey return to catching after serious injuries, and believes he too can do make a full recovery. Of course, he’s not blind to the presence and catching success of Willson Contreras, but he does believe there’s a place for both of them on the roster, adding, “I still think I can bring some things to the table.”
Even as part of a rotation, given his lefty bat, it’s not hard to see periodic starts behind the plate being theoretically available for Schwarber once a week or so, as they would have been in 2016.
And although Schwarber’s been out for almost the entire season, he hasn’t just sat back and been lazy. He’s been working hard, studying the game, developing as a catcher without taking a single squat behind the plate. When he’s not rehabbing, he’s breaking down hitters in the video room. When he’s not doing that, he’s studying the management of the game, watching how pitchers attack hitters, how hitters attack pitchers, and growing more complete as a player.
Hard work can manifest in many different ways, but it’s difficult for many to work as hard as Schwarber has right after an injury. But somehow he’s kept as hungry as ever and plans on returning strong next season as a catcher for the Chicago Cubs. And you know what? I wouldn’t bet against him.