Schwarber takes Epstein support ‘to heart,’ pushes rehab clock

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Kyle Schwarber, who was on crutches by the time the Cubs’ played their home opener (above), is off crutches and making impressive progress as he rehabs his knee injury.

Kyle Schwarber used the word “luxury” to describe the extra time he has to look at his Twitter feed while he rehabs his injured knee.

Luxury? Really?

“I know, right?”

Considering the so-called luxury has meant seeing his name regularly pop up in trade rumors the last few weeks, it makes you wonder what’s on his list of things that suck.

“It’s out of your control. Rumors are going to be rumors,” said Schwarber, the homer-hitting playoff hero for the Cubs as a rookie last fall. “Until something actually happens, you can’t worry about it.”

The Cubs continue to hunt aggressively for pitching help toward the Aug. 1 trade deadline, with the Yankees’ back-end bullpen lefties – Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller – as coveted as any potential options.

Yankees insiders and New York media have floated Schwarber’s name almost every time the teams have been linked, but Cubs president Theo Epstein made it clear while talking to Chicago media last week that Schwarber is as close to off-limits as it gets in the organization.

“It’s nice they feel about me like that,” said Schwarber, who was upbeat Wednesday about the progress of his rehab work since season-ending knee surgery in April. “I love this organization, I love this team, and I want to stay here. Obviously, things are out of my control, but since he did say that I take that to heart. It means a lot.”

Schwarber, the lefty slugger who hasn’t played since an outfield collision the third game of the season, hasn’t heard from Epstein directly on the subject, he said.

But the club made the commitment to keeping him part of the team while he undergoes his rehab in Chicago, including him in catcher and pitcher meetings during home stands. He even represented the Cubs in full uniform for the lineup exchange before Wednesday’s game.

And the only question on his mind these days seems to be the one that everybody keeps bringing up – could he actually be ready to hit by playoff time, even if it’s DH duty in a potential World Series?

Epstein last week was firm in reiterating the “next-season” timeline. Schwarber, who hasn’t been allowed to jog outside of a therapy pool yet, was less firm.

“I’m going to work my butt off to get back as soon as I can, whatever the timetable is,” he said. “I want to do more, do more [than advised sometimes]. I think that’s only a good mindset to have. And whatever happens, happens.”


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