Schwarber 'not too long' from Red Sox debut

Slugger eager to learn first base, play at Fenway Park

July 31st, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Now that the Red Sox have ’s big bat in their possession, there is one question on everyone’s mind:

When will he make his debut for the team?

“It's not going to be too long,” said Schwarber, who was acquired from the Nationals on Thursday night. “We'll probably go out and rehab here maybe pretty soon and then see how that goes and could be back before you know it. Trust me, I'm itching to get back out; it's been too long. I'm ready to get back out there and play baseball again and play some winning baseball.”

It sounds as if a best-case scenario would have Schwarber starting a Minor League rehab assignment in about a week and perhaps being ready at some point during Boston’s six-game homestand at Fenway Park starting Aug. 10.

“I don’t know about timetable, but we feel like it’s not going to be too long,” said manager Alex Cora. “The strength is there. There’s a lot of progress. [Nationals and former Red Sox trainer] Paul [Lessard] there, we have great communication with him; we’ve been on top of that. We feel he’s getting closer.

“He worked out today. He’s been hitting for a while. He’s eager to get out there and contribute, but at the same time we have to be smart. But I do believe that I’m not saying two or three days, but probably at the end of the week we’ll make a decision where we’re at.”

Before Schwarber injured his right hamstring on July 2, he was on a power tear for the ages.

“Yeah, the run was great,” said Schwarber. “Obviously the injury happened. I was pretty much able to hit a week after the injury happened so it’s almost been about three weeks of hitting so far, so that’s been definitely a positive there.

“I’ve been able to keep swinging the bat and keep doing my routine and keep doing some challenging BPs and things like that, getting on the machine, hitting breaking balls, kind of just keeping the swing fluid. Obviously the game is the game. You can’t replicate a game. I’m doing the best of my ability to help replicate any time I try to step into that cage so that whenever that time comes, it will be short and I can get back on the field.”

Aside from getting back to full health, Schwarber is also taking on the challenge of learning a new position, one that represents his best roster fit for the Red Sox -- first base.

“I'm going to go out there and keep taking ground balls, try to put us in a position to [try this] new position. For me, I view myself as a pretty good athlete,” said Schwarber. “I just want to be able to go out there and make sure you have the basics down, and as you keep progressing, you keep learning things.

“Obviously there is a sense of urgency here with where the club is at. I'm going to do everything I possibly can to make sure that if I'm going in there at first base, there's not going to be a beat missed.”

After soaking in the Cubs experience from 2015-20, Schwarber looks forward to seeing how the Green Monster compares to the ivy.

“It's special,” said Schwarber. “I always say that there's only a couple of real ballparks left in the game, and the rest are kind of stadiums. You think of Fenway, you think of Wrigley Field. Those are iconic, historic places where there's been a lot of history there before you ever even step on that baseball field. You already have a certain amount of respect before you even put on that uniform.

“I'm really excited to put on [the Red Sox] uniform, knowing all of the history, and everything that comes with it -- all the respect you have when you put on that jersey, to go out there and play for a great fan base.”