Off to hot start, Schwarber Iowa-bound

Maddon says Cubs' No. 2 prospect needs more work behind plate, in outfield

Off to hot start, Schwarber Iowa-bound

MINNEAPOLIS -- If Kyle Schwarber had gone 3-for-3 instead of 0-for-3 in Friday's 7-2 loss to the Twins, it wouldn't have mattered.

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As was the plan all along, Schwarber -- ranked No. 2 among Cubs' prospects on MLB.com -- is headed to Triple-A Iowa after Sunday's game following his recent callup to play against American League opponents.

"It would probably be easier [for the Cubs] to switch leagues than to get him to stay after Sunday," manager Joe Maddon said.

The Cubs are not moving to the AL any time soon, so Schwarber will return to his studies.

"'Schwarbs' is doing great, but he needs to complete his undergrad program in catching and then eventually, hopefully get some work in the outfield and we'll see how it plays," Maddon said Friday. "It's wonderful what he's doing and it will make him better next time. But this is the National League, where you've got to play your position and he's getting better, but we want him to continue to get better."

Schwarber's RBI triple

The Cubs' top Draft pick last year, Schwarber is making it look easy after his brief promotion from Double-A Tennessee. In three starts, all in AL ballparks as the designated hitter, he has six hits in 12 at-bats.

He's one of four players to collect six hits in his first eight at-bats in the last 30 years, joining Preston Wilson (May 1998), Ian Desmond (September 2009) and Wilson Ramos (May 2010).

But Schwarber can't be the DH at Wrigley Field.

"It's about his development, too," Maddon said. "He hasn't played enough outfield and he definitely hasn't caught enough and it's a nice start and we're talking about offense right now and it's good. But you have to play a complete game and his development has not been completed yet."

Maddon said the Rays took a similar approach with David Price, who pitched in the World Series in 2008, but opened the '09 season in the Minor Leagues.

"Nobody understood that," Maddon said, including Price.

The Cubs explained their plan to Schwarber before he was promoted.

"You send him back and I expect him to be disappointed," Maddon said. "I would be. But that's the way it plays sometimes."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.