Last year, when Kyle Schwarber tore two knee ligaments in an outfield collision in the second game of the season, it seemed his days as a catcher were over. It was rather miraculous when he made it back in time for the World Series, though even then he was limited to DH duty.
Schwarber, who is now nine months out from knee surgery, has been cleared by doctors to resume catching. The Cubs confirmed the news Wednesday morning.
Despite the medical clearance, the Cubs don’t figure to use Schwarber much behind the plate during the regular season. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed earlier this week that Willson Contreras will be the starting catcher and Miguel Montero the backup. Schwarber would be, at best, the emergency third catcher.
Even before the knee injury, there weren’t many folks who expected Schwarber to remain behind the plate long-term. He wasn’t particularly good defensively. Schwarber was always a bat-first guy. The Cubs would have lived with the shaky defense in exchange for the big bat.
>>Arrieta Hoping For Extension
Jake Arrieta is hopeful of receiving a contract extension with the Chicago Cubs before he hits free agency after this season, yet he also realizes this could be his final year with the club if talks don't materialize.
The ace right-hander and 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner landed a one-year deal for $15,637,500 last month. As the reigning World Series champions geared up for the first pitchers and catchers workout, Arrieta insisted Wednesday that his future isn't going to be something he allows to be a distraction at the start of spring training.
Arrieta says, "I don't want to see that time come to an end, my time as a Cub."
He came to the Cubs in a trade from Baltimore in 2013 and helped them end a 108-year championship drought.