Cubs notebook: Frank Schwindel finding his groove again
The first baseman, who hit .342 last season, came into Thursday night’s game against the Pirates with a modest nine-game hitting streak. “Kind of a slow start ... but I’m started to swing the bat better.”
Frank Schwindel had a tough act to follow in 2022. Not just Anthony Rizzo’s, but his own.
The 29-year-old first baseman was a revelation for the Cubs last season when he hit .342 with 13 home runs, 40 RBI and a 1.002 OPS in 56 games (222 at-bats) after being signed off waivers from the Athletics.
Schwindel came into Thursday night’s game hitting .261 with two home runs, seven RBI and a .748 OPS in 12 games this season. But he had a nine-game hitting streak, with three doubles and two home runs in that span.
“My mindset was to try and do exactly what I did last year,” Schwindel said. “Keep the same approach. Not put any extra pressure on [myself]. Treat it the same. Shortened spring, so we didn’t get as many at-bats. Kind of a slow start, but picking it up from there, and now we go. [I’m] starting to swing the bat better the last couple of days. So just gonna build on that and go from there.”
All things considered, it’s a promising start for a player who set such a high standard last year. And whether Schwindel is hitting .342 or .261, manager David Ross has a healthy appreciation for his dependability.
“I think he’s been a consistent bat in our lineup,” Ross said. “He’s come up with some big hits and in some big moments. Over time, he’s going to be real consistent in that spot.
“Do I think he’s at his best right now? No. I’ve seen him at a pretty high level. That he’s not where he wants to be and where we’ve seen him I think is a real positive — because he’s a pretty good player right now just the way he is.”
After a typically inclement early spring in Chicago, the Cubs played the Pirates in pleasant conditions — especially for a night game. It was 66 degrees at first-pitch.
Asked if he hated playing in April weather in Chicago, Schwindel had the right answer.
“I wouldn’t say I hate anything at the big-league level,” he said. “I’ll do anything — play in weather … to play up here. Yeah, some of those days aren’t easy — whether it’s playing in the rain [Wednesday] night or the freezing [temperatures] a couple of nights ago. But there’s no better place to be than Wrigley.’’
Left-hander Sean Newcomb joined the team and was available Thursday night after being acquired from the Braves for right-hander Jesse Chavez.
“I don’t want to prejudge a guy before I’ve gotten my eyes on him,” Ross said.
“I know he’s had some major-league success. I know he’s had some adversity. We’ll get him over here, and we’ll try to fit him into our plans and how he can help us win. I think he can help us win, and we’ll see.”
Did you know?
The Cubs have scored one or more runs in 58 consecutive games coming into Thursday night’s game — the longest current streak in the major leagues. They are 25-33 in those games.