(CBS) The Cubs have yet to make a determine on Kyle Schwarber’s future in the field, but Schwarber himself is optimistic catching could still be in play.
Despite suffering a serious knee injury last season, Schwarber hopes he can continue catching for the Cubs. He discussed that Friday on the Mully & Hanley Show on 670 The Score.
“Obviously, I still want to catch,” Schwarber said. “And I’m not oblivious (that) we have one of the best young catchers in the game in Willson Contreras. That guy’s one heck of a catcher. I’ve had the pleasure to play with him in the minor leagues and to see him how he’s kind of grown into the player he’s become now. What he’s going to become, it’s going to be special.
“But I still feel like I have something to give back there. I have a passion for catching. I’ve done it my whole life. And I still feel like I have something to offer. But at the end of the day, it comes down to that injury. If we feel like it’s going to be smart to put me back there after having the big blowout.”
Schwarber made a triumphant return from his knee injury, coming back in the World Series and making his impact as the designated hitter. Independent doctors ruled out Schwarber from playing the field then.
Schwarber, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2014, came from Indiana as a catcher and developed in the minor leagues behind the plate. However, when he arrived in the majors, Cubs manager Joe Maddon began to play him primarily in left field. Schwarber played 43 games in the outfield and 21 at catcher in 2015. His injury came in left field during the first week of the regular season in 2016.
As a rookie, Schwarber committed four errors at catcher and one in the outfield. He had a costly misplay in left field during the 2015 NLDS, which exposed concerns for his defensive value on a major stage.
“I’m not going to let a couple plays define me as a defensive player,” Schwarber said. “I feel like I can hold my own out in the outfield. I’m not too worried about that. I’m going to work my butt off to be as good as I can defensively. I’ve been doing a lot of work this offseason, taking some fly balls and getting down on the machine whenever I can just to catch here and there.
“I can’t let a few plays define the kind of player that I feel like I am and that my teammates feel like I am. I’m a guy that’s going to give it 100 percent every time on the field. If I make it a mistake, I’d rather it be an aggressive mistake than a passive mistake.”
The Cubs enter this 2017 season looking to defend their World Series championship. They will have Schwarber back and healthy after he played just two regular-season games last season.
“I feel like we have a good, solid core, and we have a good head on our shoulders,” Schwarber said. “Obviously, we know the success we had in 2016. Hey, time to turn the page.”