Schwarber moves up Cubs’ depth chart for day with Montero scratch

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Kyle Schwarber Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

CLEVELAND – A heartbeat away.

Second-day big-leaguer Kyle Schwarber, the slugging prospect whose catching skills are a definite work in progress, found himself as the Cubs’ No. 2 catcher entering Wednesday’s game against the Indians after Miguel Montero was scratched from the lineup because of a stiff back.

Manager Joe Maddon said if it was later in the season and in the heat of a pennant race, Montero could have played, but the club chose to be cautious with the two-time All-Star.

Backup David Ross took over for the opener of a two-game series at Progressive Field in Cleveland – making Schwarber the de facto backup, even as he batted in the designated hitter role.

But for anyone who just had a light bulb go on regarding an opportunity for Schwarber to stick with the big-league club beyond his prescribed six days he was told, flip the switch back off.

Maddon said he hasn’t been what a DL-level injury to one of the other two catchers would mean for Schwarber’s status, but “I would say no.”

Schwarber made the jump from Class AA for a brief stretch of interleague games with the DH rule in effect, and the club plans to send him to AAA to play everyday following Sunday’s game in Minnesota.

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 in the eighth inning.

Never mind the fact Schwarber’s skills aren’t ready for nine innings in the big leagues yet.

“It’s about the pitcher, too,” Maddon said. “If it was a moment where you had to do it, then you do it. And then you try to make it work.

“David Ross is a really good receiver, and he knows what he’s doing. He knows our pitchers, he knows the other teams hitters well. That matters a lot.

“If [Schwarber] was pressed into service, yes. But I’m not going to look for a spot to make him start.”

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