MIAMI -- Maybe pushing the reset button is all Kyle Schwarber needs to return to his 2016 World Series form. At least that's the hope for the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon and Schwarber's teammates.
"We think this is best for him right now," Maddon said of the young slugger, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. "We know he's gonna be back, and obviously just look forward to it. I really personally love having him here, too. It's just even when he's struggling, whenever he walks up to the plate, everyone expects something good to happen. So let's just get him right for him and for us."
Following Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Padres, Maddon sat down to deliver the news to the player who helped lead Chicago to a World Series championship after recovering from a knee injury he suffered in early April 2016. He headed to Iowa after hitting .171 in 64 games for the Cubs this year.
Maddon doesn't anticipate the demotion will be a lengthy one, but said there was no timetable. Schwarber will receive a couple of much-needed days off before starting back up again in Iowa.
"Get him out, get him playing away from here," Maddon said. "Let him relax a little bit. Unwind a little bit, focus, reset, and we really anticipate those things."
Anthony Rizzo knows the feeling. The All-Star first baseman began the 2012 season at Iowa as well. He hit .285 with 15 homers in 87 games after a callup that same year.
"It's tough for our team, because he's such a good guy," Rizzo said. "But he's gonna go down and be able to exhale a little bit as far as being in the limelight all the time and hopefully smooth things out. We're all confident he will and just do his best down there to get back here and get back to being the Kyle Schwarber we know."
Kristopher Bryant shared a similar sentiment. Despite watching his teammate falter at the plate, he has faith Schwarber's mindset will help him return to the club sooner than later.
"Playing every day and you go through these things and slumps, sometimes it seems like they pile on top of each other," Bryant said. "The biggest thing is to just realize where you are at in life and that there are a lot more problems you could be dealing with. I think he has that great attitude."
Albert Almora Jr. was one of the first players Schwarber talked to after learning of the demotion. His lockermate said Schwarber took it hard, but knew it would be best in the long run.
"Obviously when you see in his eyes, it's a tough one to swallow," Almora said. "But at the same time, it's gonna get him right where he needs to be and right back here where he belongs."
Maddon said Schwarber will work with Triple-A hitting coach Desi Wilson, along with Minor League hitting coordinator Andy Haines while in Iowa. The break is not only mental, but a chance to reevaluate some mechanics in Schwarber's swing.
While Schwarber's slump this season has extended beyond just the last month -- during which he was 9-for-46 (.196) with four home runs, three doubles, nine RBIs and 15 strikeouts -- Maddon said this felt like the right time to give him some time off.
"It happens almost in every organization. It happens to a lot of good players," Maddon said. "Then when they come back, things turn out pretty well. So it's not a matter of us not sticking with him anymore. We just thought this is the best way to go to really get him really well so that we can utilize the best side of Kyle moving forward."