What’s on Kyle Schwarber’s plate at Triple-A Iowa? Relaxation and fastballs
Photos of Cubs catcher and outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
missed a chance to play against the Marlins last weekend, but he’ll begin his mission toward a return to the Cubs starting Monday night against the Marlins’ Triple-A New Orleans team in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I think being there and knowing he can relax and play and think on what he’s trying to work on, as opposed to trying to get a hit,” said Cubs hitting coach John Mallee on Sunday as Schwarber prepares for his debut for Triple-A Iowa.
“It’s more just trying to get a good pitch to hit and putting on a good swing, and the hits will be a byproduct of his approach.”
Mallee repeatedly stressed the need for Schwarber to relax after his batting average dipped to .171 with 75 strikeouts in 222 at-bats, leaving the Cubs’ patient front office with little choice but to option him Thursday to Iowa.
Schwarber began the season as the Cubs leadoff batter but continually struggled, lost his hold on leadoff and full-time duties last month and was losing valuable playing time to regain his left-handed stroke.
“He’s been working on making a few adjustments when he was here,” Mallee said. “The whole thing is gaining his confidence back, getting him back on the fastball. I don’t see why there would be a hiccup in him getting back to being on time with the fastball and working from there. That’s basically it.
“He’s going to get regular playing time, getting the at-bats without the pressure. He puts a lot of pressure on himself because he’s such a good teammate, and he’s such a winner. Sometimes if you don’t get the hits, you feel like you’re letting the team down. And that affects a lot of people.”
Mallee will stay in contact with minor league hitting coordinator Andy Haines and Iowa hitting coach Desi Wilson.
“They’re ready to get started,” Mallee said. “Kyle is excited, and we’re all excited for him because it’s going to turn around.”
There is no timetable or prescribed number of at-bats for Schwarber’s return.