According to a Wednesday morning report from Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Cubs have officially cleared Kyle Schwarber to resume catching. While Schwarber now has medical clearance from the club’s training staff, the young slugger will only be allowed to “squat” one or two times per week in order to ease his way back into a rhythm behind the plate.
He was notably cleared to catch following a physical performed by team doctor Stephen Gryzlo.
However, since Schwarber has transitioned into an outfielder as well, he will serve as the Cubs’ third catcher heading into the 2017 season behind both Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras. As a result, his main defensive focus will remain in left field.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old infamously tore two ligaments in his left knee back on April 7, 2016 while going on to miss the majority of the regular season. While making an impressive comeback as a designated hitter for the World Series, Schwarber not only played against the Cleveland Indians but helped lead Chicago to their first title in over 100 years – 108 to be exact.
After appearing in a mere two regular season games last season, Schwarber failed to register a hit in four at bats while walking once. Even so, he impressed as a rookie back in 2015 en route to producing a .246 batting average with 16 home runs and 43 RBI to accompany his .355 on-base percentage. Making 69 regular season appearances that year, he then helped lead the Cubs to the NLCS in addition to becoming the club’s all-time leader in postseason home runs in the process.