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Kyle Schwarber 'not ruling out' return to Cubs vs. Cardinals

Kyle Schwarber hasn't played since suffering a rib cage injury before Wednesday's game against the Reds.

ST. LOUIS – After taking his most vigorous swings in the batting cage since suffering a rib cage muscle injury last week, Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber said Monday he hopes to be back in the lineup before the end of this week’s three-game series against the Cardinals.

“I’m not ruling it out. I want to be,” said Schwarber, who was hurt Wednesday taking swings in the cage before a game against the Reds. “I don’t know how everything else is going to play out. But my goal is to get back for a game or two this series. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But I want to.”

Manager Joe Maddon, who as recently as Sunday said Schwarber was out for the Cards series, softened that position after seeing Schwarber’s pregame work Monday.

“We’ll see,” the manager said. “Probably not. But as of right now it looks like he’s doing OK with it.”

Schwarber, a catalyst for the lineup since his recall out of the All-Star break, said he felt no grabbing Monday in the area of the injury, around the oblique area.

“I feel good, but you’ve also got to respect the injury,” said Schwarber, who took light swings Saturday before a day of no baseball activity Sunday. “It may be a day or two to heal.”

The lefty-hitting slugger, who threw before the game for the first time since the injury, is to be evaluated again Tuesday. The club is expected to take an especially cautious approach with 27 games left, including four next week against second-place Pittsburgh.

“There’s still a process that needs to go on, but I’m feeling comfortable right now,” Schwarber said. “I like the progress that’s going on. I’m going to be chomping at the bit to get back.”

Schwarber, who has caught and played left field, is hitting .270 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs in 48 games.

This would be his first series against the Cardinals.

“That’s another reason I’m just chomping at the bit to get back out there,” he said. “It’s the Cardinals, a big series, great stadium, great fans out there. So it’s going to be fun.”