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Schwarber values experience in first Cubs stint

No. 2 prospect went 8-for-22 with a homer before being sent back to Minors

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Schwarber's brief big league adventure ended Sunday. The Cubs' No. 2 prospect didn't get a goody bag from his six-game stint, but he got plenty of advice, which is worth more than a souvenir jersey.

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"I'm grateful for the opportunity and to be able to learn from these guys and get my feet wet," said Schwarber, who was promoted from Double-A Tennessee on Tuesday. "I know what it takes to play a Major League baseball game and I know the preparation."

Schwarber, who made five starts as the designated hitter, went 8-for-22 with a triple, a home run and six RBIs in his first six big league games, including a two-run single in the eighth in the Cubs' 8-0 win Sunday over the Twins.

"I just tried to do my job, and that was going up there and putting up quality at-bats," Schwarber said. "I'm just having fun. It was a lot of fun, a lot of fun."

Did he prove anything to himself?

"I proved to myself that I got a chance to do it and I've got to work on a few more things," Schwarber said. "I wasn't too happy with the past couple days and the at-bats, but it was just a little dabble on what could happen. It was a really good time."

Isn't he disappointed it's over?

"No," Schwarber said. "I knew what my role was. I knew it coming in. I'm not disappointed at all. The day was going to come. Unreal experience. Being able to see what it takes to play a Major League game was awesome."

Schwarber shadowed coach Mike Borzello and sat next to catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero during games. The Cubs had him catch Jason Hammel during his side session on Saturday, and he went to the bullpen on Sunday for some lessons.

"Before games, I'm always trying to get the defensive work," Schwarber said. "I've got to take advantage of my time beforehand. You're always trying to learn. When you're not hitting, I was trying to think along with our catcher."

It's also nice to be able to work with big league pitchers.

"It's easy when you're working with a guy [like Hammel] who doesn't miss by much," Schwarber said.

Schwarber showed he can hit. He struck out in his first big league at-bat as a pinch-hitter last Tuesday against the Indians, but he went 4-for-5 the next day in Cleveland and hit his first home run on Thursday.

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What may have helped was Saturday's game, when Schwarber struck out three times.

"I love the fact that he's had some success and struggled a little bit, so you would understand -- 'you' meaning everybody -- that it's not that easy," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He knows he has to make adjustments, he knows that the way this league works is to scout and analyze and attempt to find that little thing, and then you have to guard against it and make that adjustment."

Maddon liked Schwarber when he watched him in Spring Training.

"He's a great kid," Maddon said. "He's handled all of this perfectly and I'm really proud of him."

Even though he's headed to the Minor Leagues now, Schwarber is getting a promotion. Triple-A Iowa has Monday off, but expect Schwarber behind the plate on Tuesday.

"It was a great time here," Schwarber said. "Now, it's just going to be go back down and get my work in and keep going and keep grinding, and hopefully I'll be back up here."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
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