It’s almost been a week since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series but already Kyle Schwarber is looking forward to the 2017 season.
The slugger did a special Q&A with Nike Chicago on Monday night as he discussed his role with the Cubs in the World Series. Fans flocked to Nike Chicago to get the chance to ask their question and see the young Cubs player in person.
Schwarber missed most of the 2016 season after his ACL and LCL in his left knee, just three games into the season. But that didn’t stop the 23-year-old from making an impact in the World Series.
After meeting with doctors in October, Schwarber made one last plead to Cubs executive Theo Epstein.
“When I got cleared I texted Theo,” Schwarber said. “I was like I wanted to talk to you about the doctors visit, obviously he already heard the news when I called. He told me he heard that the doctors visit went great. I said, well I’d really just like a chance to try and comeback and help.”
Schwarber got the clearance from Theo and the team, then headed to Arizona to get reps in. The designated hitter said he saw somewhere around 1,400 pitches in just two days down in Arizona.
“I just wanted to try,” Schwarber said. “There was no guarantees. He (Theo) texted me to see how I was feeling and said okay we will let you know probably by tomorrow. And tomorrow was when the roster was being set. Once the roster was set and I saw that pop up on Twitter, then I got ext that I was in the lineup, there was a lot of emotions there. It was great.”
He made the trip to Cleveland and was inserted into the starting lineup for Game 1. Schwarber was 7-for-17 with a double, 3 walks and 2 runs scored in 5 games.
His biggest moment came in the 10th inning of Game 7. After the rain delay, Schwarber led off the inning with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. It was a huge moment on a huge stage as the Cubs would go on to score 2 runs in the inning and win the game 8-7.
Now with the parade, celebration and rally concluded, Schwarber is ready for 2016. Due to the injuries in his knee, the former catcher will likely focus on left field now.
He plans on heading into Spring Training ready to play left field for Joe Maddon in his club. But first he must finish rehab.
“It’s going to be a lot of knee strengthening,” Schwarber said. “My knee is strong already. We got to get the quick movements down, cutting, obviously, the unexpected cutting, things like that. It usually takes like four weeks before you’re going to be ready to go back to it. So I’m really looking forward to it.”
While Schwarber will continue to rehab, there is something he will have to cut down on during the offseason. something that will help him with conditioning moving forward.
“No more eating late night McDonald’s,” Schwarber said. “No more late night Taco Bell. It’s going to be a big process for me”
Schwarber and the Cubs will begin their title defense in February when the team heads to Arizona for Spring Training.