Kyle Schwarber’s stint with Cubs ends on high note

SHARE Kyle Schwarber’s stint with Cubs ends on high note

MINNEAPOLIS — The Kyle Schwarber designated-hitter tour through Cleveland and Minnesota ended Sunday with another sold-out crowd and rave reviews. The only thing left is the encore.

The Cubs touted prospect, who jumped from Class AA to the big-league roster strictly for a week of DH duty, finished on a high note on his way to his Class AAA Iowa debut Tuesday.

He delivered a two-run single — if not a message — in his next-to-last at-bat, a line drive to left-center in the eighth inning that turned a two-run lead into a four-run lead en route to an 8-0 victory over the Twins.

“It was an unreal experience,” said Schwarber, the No. 4 overall draft pick out of Indiana a year ago. “I proved to myself that I’ve got a chance to do it. And I got to work on a little bit more things. I wasn’t too happy with the past couple days with the at-bats, but it was just a little dabble into what could happen, and it was a really good time.”

The Cubs went 3-2 during the Schwarber road trip, including a series victory against a Twins team that had the best home record in the American League.

“Great kid, man. He handled all of this perfectly,” said manager Joe Maddon, who talked with Schwarber before the game to reiterate the plan to return him to the minors and discuss specifics to work on.

“He definitely helped us. He contributed, helped us win a couple of games. Did an outstanding job. It couldn’t have turned out better.”

Schwarber went 8-for-22 (.364) with a homer, triple and six RBI during his six-game “pit stop” in the majors. That included five starts, one intentional walk and opponents employing defensive shifts against him all week.

He also struck out eight times, including six during a 1-for-12 stretch before his eighth-inning hit.

“I love the fact that he just competes,” Maddon said. “Couple tough at-bats, but he competed the entire game. That’s what you notice.”

Teammate Anthony Rizzo, who hit his third home run in as many days, was impressed.

“He got a nice taste, and now it’s really nice that he gets to go down to Triple-A having success up here and know he can do it,” Rizzo said. “He knows he can hit up here, so he has to just go down and keep developing and keep building.”

Schwarber is expected to return to catching every day at Iowa and get some outfield work late in the season before an anticipated return to the big leagues by September, if not earlier based on need.

“It was a great experience, and now it’s time to go down and start working on all the stuff I need to work on and hopefully get back up here,” Schwarber said.

Is he a little disappointed to be heading back to the minors?

“No. I knew this day was going to come,” he said “It was just a matter of when the time was ticking down. I’m not disappointed at all. Being able to see what it takes to play a major-league game, it was awesome.”

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