CLEVELAND – Talk about a sudden impact.
On his second day in the big leagues, making his first start, Cubs catching prospect Kyle Schwarber helped knock out two Cleveland pitchers in the first three innings of a Cubs rout at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
He tripled home the first run of a 17-0 victory for his first big-league hit, then added three singles off three more pitchers (albeit, one an infield roller against the shift off an outfielder pitching the ninth).
“He’s a stud,” catcher David Ross said.
Maybe. But he’s a big-leaguer only until Sunday night, no matter how many hits he gets between now and then, and no matter how many fans on Twitter want him to stick around.
And even he says he’s not trying to force any issues with the club, short term or even regarding a promotion sometime this summer when the games potentially heat up.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of an opportunity that I’m getting put in front of me,” he said. “Some people don’t even make it to the big leagues. I’m in the big leagues right now. I’ve got to take advantage of it. It’s exciting to be up here.”
Even on a day Schwarber moved up to No. 2 on the catcher depth chart when Miguel Montero’s back stiffened Wednesday, the Cubs weren’t willing to entertain the potential for extending Schwarber’s stay, regardless of performance, even if another catcher goes down with an injury.
Montero was scratched from the lineup only as a precaution and said he could play if necessary.
Schwarber, whose week in the majors is considered a “pit stop” on the way from Class AA Tennessee to Class AAA Iowa, is not ready defensively for an extended stay and leaves after the last interleague road game Sunday in Minnesota.
Manager Joe Maddon said he isn’t so much as planning even one start behind the plate for Schwarber, who got an inning of defensive work in his debut Tuesday because Montero was ejected.
“It’s about the pitcher, too,” Maddon said. “If [Schwarber] was pressed into service, yes. But I’m not going to look for a spot to make him start.”
The Cubs expect Schwarber to return late in the season.
“Like I told him, you’re going to get rid of a lot of firsts right now, so that you’re going to get more comfortable more quickly,” Maddon said, “and season-in-progress, he’s going to be able to help us out a lot this year.”