Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Maddon sticking with Schwarber in left field

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

PITTSBURGH -- Kyle Schwarber started in right field at PNC Park during the 2015 National League Wild Card Game, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon hinted in Spring Training that may happen during the regular season as well. But Schwarber made his 10th start in left field on Monday as the Cubs opened a three-game series against the Pirates.

"It didn't seem strong enough for me to move him tonight," said Maddon, who looked at the scouting report and Pirates' tendencies. "It's something we could still do. He's so used to playing out there [in left field] now. The other part is the unpredictability of where the ball is going to be hit."

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Kyle Schwarber started in right field at PNC Park during the 2015 National League Wild Card Game, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon hinted in Spring Training that may happen during the regular season as well. But Schwarber made his 10th start in left field on Monday as the Cubs opened a three-game series against the Pirates.

"It didn't seem strong enough for me to move him tonight," said Maddon, who looked at the scouting report and Pirates' tendencies. "It's something we could still do. He's so used to playing out there [in left field] now. The other part is the unpredictability of where the ball is going to be hit."

View Full Game Coverage

With ground ball pitcher Brett Anderson starting on Monday, Maddon didn't expect the Cubs outfielders to be too busy at all. Maddon did acknowledge it isn't easy for players to switch from one side of the outfield to the other without much prep work.

"It's not easy to just move people around," Maddon said. "The ball always moves toward the line, whether it's a righty or left-handed hitter. It's a different method of thinking on the other side of the field. Can he do it? Of course, he can do it."

Monday was Schwarber's first game at PNC Park since the Wild Card Game, when he hit a two-run homer off Gerrit Cole in the Cubs' 4-0 win. In 2015, he also started one game in August at catcher, and three games in September in left field. Schwarber missed the Cubs' series last year as he rehabbed from torn ligaments in his left knee, suffered in the third game of the season.

Ben Zobrist missed two games in Cincinnati because of tightness in his lower back but was able to start on Sunday in the series finale and started Monday in right field. Is playing second base a problem for Zobrist's back?

"He hasn't said anything about it," Maddon said.

• Pitching coach Chris Bosio will miss the Cubs' series in Pittsburgh and in Boston to take care of a personal matter. Bullpen coach Lester Strode will switch to the dugout to handle the pitchers, and coach Henry Blanco will take over the duties in the bullpen.

"You're missing a regular, whether it's on the staff or the field, and it's always different," Maddon said. "It's difficult when you don't have your regular lineup out there. I have total faith in the guys who are here."

• In past trips to Pittsburgh, Maddon has had friends and family from his hometown of Hazleton come to PNC Park. No one had called him as of late Monday afternoon.

"Nobody that I'm aware of is coming yet," Maddon said. "That doesn't mean nobody will show up. That's the Hazleton way. They show up at the last minute and bring pizza, which is OK. I can't count them out yet."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber