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Cubs announce Kyle Schwarber is not medically cleared to play outfield

The Cubs will need to use Schwarber as a pinch-hitter for the next three games of the World Series at Wrigley.

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Cubs were plenty good in the regular season without Kyle Schwarber, and they’ll have to hope that continues in the next three games of the World Series. Theo Epstein announced that the young slugger has not been medically cleared to play in the outfield, so with the DH gone during the three NL-rules games at Wrigley, Schwarber will have to settle for pinch-hitting duties.

"Medically, the doctors were very convicted. There was just too much risk in playing the outfield because of the dynamic actions involved, the instantaneous reactions, the need to cut, the dynamic athletic movements that are unanticipated."

"Dr. Cooper cleared him to hit and run the bases, and that was an aggressive clearance. ... At that time and again today, he was clear about the fact that {Schwarber] was not improved enough yet to play the field. There's just too much risk in playing the field at this time. We have to look out for Kyle's long-term interests. We have a lot of confidence in our other guys too. We won 103 games."

Not to put too fine a point on it, either, but Schwarber wasn’t the most graceful defensive outfielder around before he tore his knee apart, either, so that combined with his general inexperience at the position and the injury means too much is at risk here.

Schwarber has been something of a returning hero for the Cubs in the World Series, so his loss is not minimal. He showed back up in time for the World Series, though — well ahead of schedule — and has helped power the Cubs’ offense in the first two games of the Fall Classic.

He’ll still have value as a pinch-hitter — if anyone is going to take Andrew Miller deep this postseason, it feels like Schwarber would be the guy — but Chicago won’t be getting four or five plate appearances per game out of him unless they head back to Cleveland for Game 6.

Again, the Cubs led the league in wins without Schwarber, but having him certainly beats the alternative, and now they’ll have to figure something else out in an outfield where they’re already trying to avoid playing the disappointing Jason Heyward.