“Schwarber is going to have a chance to catch three days in a row in Cincinnati,” manager Joe Maddon said Sunday afternoon.
Schwarber didn’t start the final two games of the Cubs' series against the Atlanta Braves as the team tries to ease him into his surprise new role after starter Miguel Montero went down with a thumb injury. Sunday’s announcement means Schwarber will catch Clayton Richard on Monday, Jason Hammel on Tuesday and either Kyle Hendricks or a Triple-A call-up in one game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
“Give it a chance to play out a little bit,” Maddon said. “He’s insatiable when it comes to work.”
Schwarber is getting a crash course on the Cubs pitching staff. He caught Hammel in a bullpen session on Saturday and did the same on Sunday with Hendricks after catching the latter in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Braves. Now he’ll get a chance with the veterans Hammel and Richard; Maddon will reassess again after those outings.
Schwarber is 11 for 27 but was charged with two errors in his first start behind the plate.
“This guy is pretty tough on righties,” Maddon said of Braves starter Shelby Miller. “I wanted to get Johnny involved. I don’t worry about birth certificates. It’s about keeping guys fresh for the end of the year.”
Maddon has been consistent in his message regarding his young players: They’re going to get appropriate rest for the stretch run. Russell was 2 for 7 in Games 1 and 2 this weekend but is hitting .228 for the season with a .296 on-base percentage.