The Wife returns late tonight at long last from her weeklong conference, and I could not possibly miss her more. Not solely because she’s a great partner with respect to the house and kids – managing them, even with babysitter assistance, while also working, has been tiring – but also because she’s just my good pal. I like having her around.
- I doubt you missed the big Kyle Schwarber demotion news yesterday, but in the flurry of everything, it’s possible you missed Theo Epstein’s lengthy discussion of it.
- Jed Hoyer spoke about the decision with CSN, explaining that the Cubs waited as long as they did largely because they believed he would come out of it, given his track record. But, after so long, the front office determined, “It just got to a place where we felt like the right way for this to come together was to allow him to get away from the team, to take a deep breath and be able to work on some things in a lower-pressure environment.” The Cubs and Joe Maddon are quick to point to the long line of current stars who had a similar trajectory, coming up with great success, struggling, and then having to go back down to work through some things before finally emerging as stars. Maybe that’s how it will be for Schwarber, who’s never faced these kinds of struggles before. I still wonder how much we underestimated the developmental impact of the year lost to the knee injury. That just seems to have made things so much harder in terms of adjustments, and the fact that Schwarber was so incredible in the World Series may have masked that a bit.
- Hoyer added that, in addition to simply getting his confidence and swagger back, there are some minor mechanical/physical tweaks that Schwarber probably needs, as evidenced by how he has been getting beat by fastballs (CSN). There’s no timeline for Schwarber’s return to the big leagues – instead, the Cubs are looking for a return to the complete hitter he’s been in the past. I anticipate that’ll mean more whole field, fewer ground balls and weak fly balls, and much less swinging out of the zone. And also: wrecking fastballs.
- Ben Zobrist is eligible to come off the disabled list today, but the tea leaves suggest that won’t happen, as the expectation is Zobrist will need a minor league rehab stint – at least a game – to test out the wrist before he comes back. Since that didn’t happen yesterday, I doubt he comes back tonight. Relative to how he was performing with the wrist injury, the Cubs haven’t lost much without Zobrist … but relative to how good he normally is, they’d love to have him back.
- In Jon Heyman’s latest set of NL notes, he writes, in the context of Joe Maddon not agreeing that Anthony Rizzo violated MLB’s slide rule: “The guess here is Maddon must not like the new rule. Anyway, with his frequent griping, he’s not a favorite in MLB headquarters at the moment.” Has Maddon really been a “frequent” griper? I can think of a few times when the Cubs got legitimately boned by poor umpire decisions this year (the Rizzo homer overturn process and the Jason Heyward out-of-the-baseline being the most glaring (the Ian Happ slide one was, to me, a correct application of a good rule, but an unfortunate situation)), but it’s not like Maddon is Jim Harbaugh out there. I’m a bit surprised to hear that MLB has a beef with the way Maddon has thoughtfully expressed disagreement with the various missed calls. The only one on which I disagree with Maddon is the existence of the slide rules – I appreciate them – so maybe MLB just doesn’t like Maddon publicly disapproving of certain rules.
- Were I not a Cubs fan, and thus desiring them to finally fall off, I’d be really enjoying the Brewers’ upstart story this year, and taking impressive things like this in with a smile:
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 22, 2017
- I like this: Joey Votto says he’d win the Home Run Derby if he’s invited. Votto – one of the best pure hitters in the game (who also happens to have 20 homers) – compared himself to Ichiro, another stellar pure hitter whom many believe could do very well in a Home Run Derby if that’s what he chose to do.
- Luke dug into draft signings and Mark Zagunis this morning.
- Also: Happy Anniversary to the Ryne Sandberg Game.
- Mini super bright tactical flashlights for 70% off at Amazon.
- Also, summer is officially here – check out the summer and swim Cubs gear at Fanatics. Bathing suits, towels, flip flops, sunglasses. All that good stuff.