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Cubs designate Schierholtz for assignment

DENVER -- Nate Schierholtz set career highs last season in nearly every offensive category, hitting 21 home runs and driving in 68 runs. But the outfielder couldn't quite get on track this season, and on Wednesday, he was designated for assignment.

The Cubs made the roster move to open a spot on the 40-man for pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Schierholtz, 30, batted .192 with six homers and 33 RBIs in 99 games for the Cubs this season. He signed prior to the 2013 season, and batted .251 in 137 games with 32 doubles, three triples and the 21 home runs.

"He was very appreciative of the opportunity and the message I left him was to thank him for his efforts," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wedndesday. "He's a pro.

"I'm sure it was a very tough time for him having had as much success as he had last year," Renteria said. "We're hopeful maybe a change of scenery will help him out."

With the team's decision to move switch-hitting Arismendy Alcantara to the outfield to make room for Javier Baez at second base, the Cubs have an overload of left-handed hitting outfielders. Schierholtz, the best defensive player among the Cubs outfielders, was 0-for-17 in his last six games.

"It's really, really hard to lose a teammate, especially another outfielder," Justin Ruggiano. "I think wherever he ends up, wherever he goes, I think it'll be a breath of fresh air for him to start fresh, not worry about numbers. You get in the middle of the season and the numbers are just staring at you. It's hard to push them aside and worry about today."

Ruggiano did the same thing last season, going 0-for-42 in July.

"I know what he's going through," Ruggiano said. "It's just a mental thing, and I think he'll have a little time to clear his head and get back on track wherever he is. I wish him the best."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Kyuji Fujikawa, Nate Schierholtz