Cubs' Schwarber to catch on limited basis
Wednesday Feb 15, 2017 12:00am
(MESA, AZ) - World Series hero Kyle Schwarber will get his wish to be a catcher again but only on a very limited basis as he returns from a knee injury. Schwarber, 23, reported to the Chicago Cubs camp with pitchers and catchers on Tuesday though he'll mostly be a left fielder when the team opens the 2017 season. Cubs president Theo Epstein says Schwarber's primary focus is to be a left fielder, because his future is too valuable. Epstien says Schwarber has such a great impact with his bat and the person that he is we don't want to do anything that can jeopardize the length of his career. Despite not playing a full season in the major leagues yet, Schwarber already has achieved a cult following in Chicago. He's the franchise postseason home run leader after hitting five in 2015, and he returned early from knee surgery to help the Cubs win the 2016 World Series. He went 7-for-17 after missing all but the first three games of the regular season due to an outfield collision. Schwarber was a catcher before being drafted by the Cubs in 2014 but converted to outfield in 2015 in order to insert his bat into the major league lineup quicker. If cleared to squat by team doctors, Schwarber will perform physical catching duties only 1-2 times a week, Epstein said. He'll still learn the game from a catcher's standpoint while also working on his defense in left field. The ultimate plan is for him to be ready as a third/emergency catcher by Opening Day. Schwarber will wear a brace on his left knee for the entire season but the Cubs think he's already moving well in the outfield. He'll just have to take it slow behind the plate.