Asked if there was any chance Schwarber could sway the Cubs’ plan to send him back down to Triple-A Iowa after two series in the American League, Maddon had no hesitation: “No.”
“He’s been doing great,” Maddon said before Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. “He needs to complete his undergrad program in catching, or whatever, and hopefully he gets some work in the outfield too. It’s wonderful what he’s doing and it’s going to make him even better next time. But this is the National League, you have to play your position.”
Developing beyond a hitter is the club’s focus for Schwarber, the Cubs’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft. Even though Schwarber has lit up the scoreboard from the designated hitter spot, which he’s slotted at again on Friday from the 8 hole in the lineup, Maddon still is against adding a DH to the National League.
Jokingly asked if the Cubs would switch leagues, Maddon said that it would be easier to unearth the franchise’s deep-seated roots in the National League than to keep the standout rookie past the two series in AL parks. Schwarber went 6-for-10 with a triple, a home run, four RBIs and five runs scored in the previous series against the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s about his development,” Maddon said. “He hasn’t played enough outfield, he definitely has not caught enough. It’s a nice start when you’re talking about offense now, and that’s good. But you’ve got to play a complete game and his development has not been complete yet.
Maddon said he hadn’t spoken to Schwarber recently about the plan to send him back down, but backup catcher David Ross said the rookie “understands the process.”
“Obviously he’s going to be here for a long time,” Ross said.
Relievers ready: After running through four relievers in Thursday’s 4-3 loss in Cleveland, Maddon said the bullpen is still in "good shape."
“I’d say Woody [Travis Wood] is the only guy who is tested and actually he didn’t throw that many pitches,” Maddon said. “He was in pretty good shape pitch count wise. I think for the most part we’re in good shape.”
Olt starts rehab assignment: Infielder Mike Olt, who has been on the disabled list since mid-April with a fractured wrist, will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee on Friday. With Kris Bryant holding down third base, Maddon said he wasn’t sure if Olt would play a different position during his rehab.
“Of course you’d like to see him play more than one position,” Maddon said. “But I’m not sure of the exact plan, beyond getting him healthy.”