Cubs' Chris Coghlan on reduced PT -- 'I don't try to read into it'

MILWAUKEE -- While Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan wonders about his role in the upcoming wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Joe Maddon didn't deny rookie Kyle Schwarber could be in right field when the teams face off on Wednesday night.

Schwarber started in right for the first time this season on Friday in a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers while Kris Bryant was in left field, leaving Coghlan on the bench to strike out as a pinch hitter.

"I definitely have thought about it," Coghlan said of his role in the wild-card game. "Once your playing time decreases you start to have different questions. At the end of the day it's only about winning. That's it. Do I think I give our team the best chance to win in the wild-card game against Gerrit Cole? Yeah, I do. I feel like I'm one of the best eight guys out there."

Coghlan is 0-for-8 against Cole this season and 2-for-13 in his career, but Maddon hasn't made any decisions yet as he and the front office are trying different permutations in the field and in the batting order this week.

Clinching a playoff berth with nine games left in the regular season has given the manager a chance to experiment.

For example, Bryant had a start at first base recently while Schwarber had one behind the plate on Thursday. It's left Coghlan with less playing time than he's used to.

"I don't know," Coghlan said. "I don't try to read into it. He has his reasons for doing things. I learned early in the year not to try and think on the same wavelength. It's not really possible.

"It's been a weird year. I haven't been playing all of a sudden. I don't know why."

Coghlan is hitting .245 with 16 home runs and 41 RBIs, but by most accounts he's had a better season than his batting average would indicate.

His line-drive percentage (28 percent) is about the same as Anthony Rizzo's (29 percent) and he's still taking his walks, as he had a .359 on-base percentage in September despite a .234 average.

"Consistent playing time is the biggest thing," Coghlan said of his recent decline in production.

It wasn't that long ago Coghlan had the longest active consecutive games played streak in the majors, but he's had only 33 plate appearances in the past 17 games, including one on Friday.

Maddon was asked before the game if Coghlan still could start in Wednesday's wild-card game.

"You could see him there," Maddon responded. "You could."

But on Friday it was Schwarber's turn in right. He was followed by Austin Jackson.

"I wanted to make sure he got some work out there," Maddon said of Schwarber. "It's something you can see. ... The whole point is to maximize what we are able to do at any one particular moment. ... We have options. We don't have to do it just one way."

Coghlan says he'll be ready as a starter or off the bench, but there's little doubt he feels he should be in the lineup come Wednesday.

"I expect to play every day," he said. "[Maddon has] already made his decision I'm not going to play against lefties, so I'm content in that. But if a right-hander is pitching I expect to play that night. So when it's not there, yeah, it is a disappointment.

"If you look at numbers at the end of the day, I do feel like I've produced enough to earn that. Whether that happens or not, I don't know. That's all up to Joe ... I do know with Joe, when you're not playing, from the third inning on you have to be ready."

Coghlan was asked whether it matters if he gets a few hits this weekend against the Brewers.

"For me? No," he responded. "Maybe for Joe. It's been a long year. My body of work speaks for itself. Or it should."