PITTSBURGH – Whatever the Cubs’ plans are for shuffling their defensive playing time when catcher Miguel Montero returns from the disabled list this weekend, the versatile Chris Coghlan figures to be in the middle of it.
Coghlan, the regular left fielder much of the season, also has played right, second and third this season and has worked a lot in batting practice this week at second base.
Because Montero’s return to the lineup – primarily against right-handers – means less time behind the place for rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber, manager Joe Maddon will have to use Schwarber more often in left field to keep his bat in the lineup.
If that wasn’t clear before Wednesday, it was crystalized when Schwarber made his first start since Sunday and delivered a double and two-run homer from the No. 2 spot in the order.
Maddon said he also wants to keep Coghlan’s bat in the lineup regularly.
“I haven’t been told anything,” Coghlan said. “The good thing is we have good depth. And I feel comfortable playing anywhere. Obviously most of my experience is in the outfield. I’ve played all three significantly. But second or third feels comfortable to me. So the way I look at it, man, is I just want to be prepared for whatever, and any way I can get in the lineup.
Maddon suggested that he could employ lots of lineup combinations both for matchup purposes as well as rotating some days off for younger players, especially the everyday rookies.
Coghlan is prepared for any position any day.
“You’ve got to be with Joe,” he said.
GOLD GLOVE LOOK
Addison Russell’s conversion from shortstop to second base this year has been at times spectacular and generally impressive.
“He’s making plays like no other,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “He’s getting to balls kind of like Darwin [Barney] did – just makes crazy plays and makes them look easy. He keeps getting better and everyone sees it.”
Former Cub second baseman Darwin Barney is the Cubs’ last Gold Glove winner (2012).
Even Russell’s errors have decreased dramatically. He has only one in the last month, just four since the end of May.
Left-hander Clayton Richard drove home to Indiana from Pittsburgh Monday after the Cubs designated him for assignment and he, in turn, elected free agency. He was there just long enough to mow his lawn, he said, before the Cubs called and asked him to return.
Richard, who said it was always his first choice to return if the Cubs could make it work, re-signed with the club and joined the bullpen Wednesday.
The Cubs had a need after placing disappointing reliever Rafael Soriano on the disabled list with shoulder “inflammation.”