After suffering a gruesome injury back in April that was said to be season-ending, Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber has surpassed several expectations and is slated to serve as his team’s designated hitter as the Cubs take on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday night in the Game 1 of Major League Baseball’s 112th annual World Series.
An encore to his fine 2015 campaign that was anticipated to unfold over the 2016 season was abruptly ended in the fourth game of the regular season on April 7, when Schwarber, who was playing left field despite having little outfield experience under his belt, collided with Cubs center-fielder Dexter Fowler as the two both laid out for a ball hit deep into the left-center-field alley of Chase Field by Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Jean Segura. The two failed to catch the ball, and the speedy Segura zoomed around the bases for an inside-the-park home run; nonetheless, the play presented the Cubs with a bigger problem, one that only grew bigger as the riveting effects of the play settled in.
Shortly after exiting the field on a cart, Schwarber was said to have a suffered a sprained left ankle, but further testing over the hours following the collision revealed a torn ACL and LCL, ailments that prompted surgery for the Cubs’ former first-round pick and prematurely slammed the door shut on what was supposed to be the 23-year-old’s breakout season.
Schwarber was initially written off until spring training of 2017 after undergoing surgery, but his notably quick recovery and approval from team doctors allowed the heavy-hitting youngster to ease into rehabilitation much sooner than most with his nature of injury do. Schwarber has worked out with the team over the previous weeks and even appeared in two games of the Arizona Fall League as a member of the Mesa Solar Sox. Though he won’t be pushed to play defense or run at full speed, the Cubs are hopeful that Schwarber’s big bat can boom again this October.
After slamming sixteen home runs over his first 69 major-league games, Schwarber crushed five during the Cubs’ eight postseason games in 2015 to put his name in Chicago’s record books. The five long balls Schwarber hit rank him atop the franchise leaderboard in postseason homers. The Cubs have combined to hit twelve home runs as a team across ten games this fall, and the club is hopeful that Schwarber can help continue the trend as the franchise seeks its first World Series championship since 1908.