Cubs’ Theo Epstein on Ben Zobrist: ‘He doesn’t owe us anything’

The Cubs are right there with Zobrist as his personal leave of absence hits one month, the team’s president of baseball operations said before Wednesday’s wild 9-8 victory over the Rockies at Wrigley Field.

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Wild Card Game - Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs

Ben Zobrist during the 2018 NL wild-card game against the Rockies at Wrigley Field.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Cubs are right there withBen Zobristas the veteran’s personal leave of absence hits one month, president of baseball operationsTheo Epsteinsaid before Wednesday’s wild 9-8 victory over the Rockies at Wrigley Field.

They’re right there as far as staying informed.

“He’s been communicative with us,” Epstein said. “We have an understanding of what’s going on with him.”

And they’re right there as far as having his back.

“Families and personal lives come first — that’s the rule we run our organization by,” Epstein said. “He’s been in touch with me, and I know at some point he plans on being in touch with his teammates. How much he communicates with [media] or the fans, that’s a personal decision.”

On a night when David Bote drove in a career-high seven runs — a first for a Cubs second baseman since the “[Ryne] Sandberg Game” in 1984 — it was hard not to wonder if Bote would even be on the big-league roster if Zobrist were playing.

Meanwhile, Epstein made another thing clear: The Cubs will not engage in public speculation about the status of Zobrist’s career.

Will the 38-year-old ever play in a Cubs uniform again? Will he retire?

“It would be most appropriate, if we get to the point where there are any updates, that they come from him,” Epstein said.

Zobrist “[doesn’t] owe us anything,” Epstein added. That is in one sense plainly true, since the Cubs aren’t paying him while he’s on the restricted list.

Bote killer

Bote’s 4-for-4 night included a two-out rocket through the fog for a three-run homer in the fifth inning off Rockies starter German Marquez and a two-out, three-run double off Chris Rusin in the sixth.

“You’ve got to enjoy it,” he said. “Enjoy the moment. It doesn’t get any better than playing at Wrigley, that fan base, games like this, in this clubhouse with these guys, in a winning organization. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

It was the first seven-RBI game for a Cub since Willson Contreras went off against the White Sox in May of 2018.

Darvish foiled again

Yu Darvish failed to win his first home start in seven tries this season and — hard to believe, but true — earned his seventh consecutive no-decision overall.

Emphasis on “earned.”

Darvish stifled the Rockies through five scoreless innings, but the wheels came off in the sixth. Working with a 3-0 lead, he walked Trevor Story and gave up a double to David Dahl and a run-scoring single to Nolan Arenado. His night over, he watched as an Anthony Rizzo throwing error helped the Rockies tie the game off reliever Kyle Ryan.

After the Cubs took that lead in the bottom of the fifth on Bote’s homer, the crowd was jumping and Darvish seemed to have received the boost he needed to get over the hump. No dice.

Draft pulls

The Cubs completed their 2019 draft Wednesday, having made 40 selections in all. First came Fresno State pitcher Ryan Jensen in the opening round. Last came high school outfielder Mac Bingham in Round No. 40. In all, they selected 22 pitchers, three catchers, seven outfielders and eight infielders.

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