Rookie Kyle Schwarber’s work behind the plate isn’t done for the season.
Despite the return of the Cubs’ two-catcher rotation since Miguel Montero was activated from the disabled list Friday, manager Joe Maddon plans to get Schwarber at least a few spot starts behind the plate over the final seven weeks – possibly as soon as this weekend against the White Sox.
Schwarber started in left field for the fifth consecutive game Wednesday.
“I’ve got to get him back there at some point. I don’t want him to lose all that good work that he’s done,” said Maddon, who might hold David Ross back Sunday to use Schwarber against lefty Chris Sale, with Dan Haren pitching for the Cubs.
“He’s made so much progress with it.”
Schwarber has made 12 starts behind the plate for the Cubs after catching 52 games in the minors this season.
“Certainly long-term we still see him as a catcher,” Epstein said.
Support for Castro
Starlin Castro, the three-time All-Star shortstop who was benched Friday over a season-long slump, could become a long-term possibility at second base for the club (which has him under contract for a guaranteed four years, $38 million after this year), Epstein said.
Rookie Addison Russell has been installed as the everyday shortstop.
“He could be a big part of the organization long-term,” said Epstein, who downplayed the suggestion Castro will be traded before next season. “We’ll just see how everything shakes out. Wee can’t project what things are going to look ike next week, let alone next year.”
Castro received a warm ovation from the crowd when he came off the bench to hit in the seventh. He remained in the game at second.
“I expect him to finish strong and really help the team,” Epstein said. “And then I expect his career to pick right up where he left off.”
Notes: Pitching matchups for the weekend series on the South Side: Friday, Kyle Hendricks vs. Jeff Samardzija; Saturday, Jake Arrieta vs. Jose Quintana; Sunday, Haren vs. Sale.
– Dexter Fowler’s two-out walk in the third Wednesday night was his 23rd in 24 games since the All-Star break. He had a .414 on-base percentage since the break through Tuesday. In the first half, Fowler drew 36 walks in 85 games and had a .308 OBP.