Schwarber taking advantage of brief MLB stint

Rookie hits game-tying blast in fifth inning Thursday vs. Indians

Schwarber taking advantage of brief MLB stint

CLEVELAND -- Before Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Indians, Joe Maddon was asked if there was anything rookie Kyle Schwarber could do to avoid being sent back to the Minor Leagues when the Cubs returned to National League play.

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Maddon's reply was swift and to the point.

"No."

The Cubs manager went on to joke that the only way Schwarber would remain on the big league roster past Sunday is if they permanently moved to the American League.

There might not be a chance he stays, according to Maddon, but Schwarber is doing everything he can to change the minds of the powers that be. After a four-hit day in his first MLB start, Schwarber picked right up where he left off by shooting a single into right field in his first at-bat in the third inning, and then hitting his first big league homer in his next at-bat, a two-run shot tying the score at 3-3 in the fifth inning.

"It's impressive," Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel said. "He puts the barrel on the ball real nice. I think he's got a very, very good approach at the plate as you can see - he's a tough out right now. It's pretty impressive for a young guy that's just coming up and getting his feet wet. We were expecting to maybe just get a look at him but he's actually made a pretty big impact in the few games we've had him."

The designated hitter fell behind 0-2 to Danny Salazar before working a full count and sending a 96 mph fastball that caught too much of the plate the other way and over the 19-foot wall in left field. Statcast™ projected the ball to land 379 feet from home plate with an exit velocity of 102 mph.

In the Minor Leagues, just one of Schwarber's 31 home runs went to the opposite field. Then again, not many guys in the Minors throw 96.

"I don't hit that many oppo I guess," Schwarber said. "I like to think that I can put the ball out to left-center, too. I guess most of the pitches I hit in the Minor Leagues were in."

Schwarber got the ball back from the fan who caught it, but the fan used his leverage and gave the ball back under two conditions. The first was that Schwarber sign a ball for him. The second was that Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, whom the spectator is seemingly a fan of, also sign something for him.

"Thanks, Trevor Bauer," Schwarber said.

Schwarber is now 6-for-10 through his first two Major League games with a triple, a home run, four RBIs and five runs scored.

"I've just looked at it as a good opportunity to get my feet wet and just take advantage of what I've got put in front of me," Schwarber said. "Not many people get to the big leagues, and now I'm in the big leagues. What am I going to do? Just be happy and complacent that I'm here? No, I'm going to go and try to take advantage of an opportunity."

August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.