Cubs activate Szczur; Schwarber to Iowa

Cubs activate Szczur; Schwarber to Iowa

CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced Monday that they recalled outfielder Matt Szczur and optioned catcher Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa.

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Szczur played left field and batted sixth for Chicago in Monday's game against the Dodgers, making his first appearance since June 6 against Washington. He hit .195 (8-for-41) with three doubles and four RBIS in 12 games with Iowa.

Schwarber was up for six days while the Cubs played against American League teams. He moves down to Iowa after he was 8-for-22 (.364) with a home run and six RBIs in six games as a designated hitter. He made the jump from Double-A Tennessee to the Majors last week, and impressed Cubs president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein.

"He really handled himself well in the clubhouse and with his teammates," Epstein said. "I think he earned a lot of respect for his approach to the game, probably learned a few things about what goes into being a big leaguer.

"It was a best-case scenario for as well as it could have went, and he's really excited to get to Iowa and keep growing as a catcher and as a player."

Schwarber highlighted the organization's depth, which continues to improve with the team's health. Last week, the Cubs called up reliever Neil Ramirez to Iowa and have been encouraged by his progress and that of outfielder Jorge Soler.

Ramirez could be called up before the All-Star break, Epstein said, and manager Joe Maddon has reason to believe it could be "relatively soon." Maddon is especially excited for the bullpen, which will have Zac Rosscup back after he left Tuesday's game with a shoulder injury, and eventually, Rafael Soriano -- as he works out in the Dominican Republic.

Soler, who suffered a left ankle injury June 1 in Miami, could start a rehab assignment in "at least a week," Maddon noted. He's worn a boot on his left foot and took live batting practice on Friday.

"He's getting closer," Maddon said. "Everybody likes what he's doing. He's not far off; there's been no setbacks. We're trying to avoid a setback."

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