SCHAUMBURG — The phrase “it’s a business” is said a lot in professional sports, often within a disappointing context.
Trevor Stevens, a Glenview native and Glenbrook South grad, stood underneath Boomers Stadium after playing for the Lake Erie Crushers on Sunday and uttered those words as he talked about the end to his time with the Chicago Cubs organization.
Stevens signed with the Cubs last summer after his playing career at Northwestern concluded. Stevens hit .257 with a .388 on-base percentage in 26 games for the Cubs’ Arizona Rookie League team, and he was subsequently invited to the club’s spring training this year.
Things went south for Stevens on March 13, however, when he swung at a pitch during a live session of batting practice and broke a bone in his right hand. The injury required surgery.
Stevens rehabbed his broken hand with the Cubs, then returned to the team’s extended spring training.
“I got cleared, went out to [batting practice] and then came in and that’s when I got the ol’ boot,” Stevens said. “It was kind of sad, but it is what it is. It’s a business. It happens.”
Stevens, 25, boarded a plane later that day and returned home to Glenview. He promptly started contacting teams, looking for a place where he could continue his professional baseball career and, as he said with a chuckle, “not join the real world right away.”
Glenview native Trevor Stevens has played in less than half of the Lake Erie Crushers’ games in the Frontier League this season because of injuries. | Photo courtesy Matt Browne Photography
The Lake Erie Crushers were one of the teams Stevens contacted, and he has spent this season playing for the Avon, Ohio-based team in the Frontier League.
Stevens has proven versatile — he’s played second base, shortstop, center field and left field for the Crushers — and he’s played strong defense.
“Trevor’s one of my favorite players because he can play every position on the field,” Crushers manager Chris Mongiardo said. “I like him in the lineup any way I can get him.”
Although that’s the case, Stevens has played in less than half of the Crushers’ games this season. He’s been plagued by injuries, missing about a month due to lingering pain in his right hand early in the season and then a little more than five weeks because of a slightly-torn labrum in his left shoulder. His first game back from the shoulder injury was July 20.
His versatility, on-field intelligence and defense — he made three slick plays at shortstop against the Schaumburg Boomers in Lake Erie’s 9-4 loss Sunday — are all positive attributes, but it’s his hitting that needs to improve.
Stevens’ average was at .235 as of Monday. Stevens and Lake Erie hitting coach Joe Charboneau acknowledged Stevens must raise his average in order to get signed by a major league organization.
“It’s very important to show he can hit,” Charboneau said. “Because [scouts] know he can run, they know he can steal a base, they know he can play some defense. They want to see him hit a little bit right now. That’s probably going to be the last thing to come, at this point, with the injuries.”