Ben Zobrist played second base and batted fifth in what might have been his last home game at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
The 38-year-old whose contract expires at the end of the season has not decided on his future.
“I’m trying not to think about that right now,” Zobrist said. “I’ve got a lot of time whenever the season’s over to think about that.”
It has been a trying season for Zobrist, who missed almost four months because of personal reasons. He’s hitting .296 (16-for-54) with a homer and six RBI in 17 games since his return while providing veteran leadership.
Zobrist said the last month proved to him that physically he can keep playing if he wants.
“I feel like I can keep up,” Zobrist said.
That leaves the mental grind, as well as outside interests and family commitments, in determining whether he keeps playing. Zobrist got dressed and left Wrigley in a hurry after Saturday’s marathon loss so he could make his daughter’s birthday party.
The Eureka, Illinois, native said he will savor his time playing for the Cubs at Wrigley regardless of what happens next.
“It’s the big leagues of the big leagues,” he said. “That’s the way the fans make you feel here. The front office, the organization, the way everything is run, it’s the top of the top.
“It’s hard to beat the experience of being a Chicago Cub, especially when you walk out on that field.”
Making the jump
Manager Joe Maddon chuckled when asked whether Nico Hoerner could make the jump from Class AA to the big leagues full-time next season.
“He already has,” Maddon said.
Hoerner, 22, singled in his first at-bat and played flawlessly in the field to continue his hot start. He is hitting .281 (16-for-57) with three homers and 12 RBI in 14 games since the Cubs promoted him after injuries to Javy Baez and Addison Russell.
Russell is available to play again, but Maddon is riding the hot hand with Hoerner.
“You could not have possibly asked for more than we’ve gotten out of Nico,” Maddon said. “And the thing is, he’s going to keep getting better. This guy, he’s just a gym rat when it comes to baseball. He loves doing this, and he does it really, really well.”
Maddon said he liked Hoerner’s chances heading into next spring.
“You always have to worry about a little regression as the league catches up, but his bat-to-ball skills are so good, [and] he’s always had that,” Maddon said. “I don’t see that dissipating.”
The Cubs honored retiring organist Gary Pressy, who celebrated his last game after 33 seasons and 2,687 consecutive home games.
Pressy threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as he played along on the organ. He received a standing ovation during a scoreboard tribute, and several players, including Kyle Schwarber, tipped their caps toward him.
“Thank you, fans,” Pressy said during the seventh-inning stretch. “You are the greatest.”