Catcher's return likely to mean less playing time behind plate for rookie Schwarber
By Greg Garno
CHICAGO -- The Cubs activated catcher Miguel Montero from the disabled list on Friday and optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Triple-A Iowa, the team announced.
Montero had been on the 15-day DL since he sprained his left thumb on July 11 against the White Sox. He arrives from Double-A Tennessee, where he played four games and hit a grand slam on Thursday.
Szczur was called up on Monday and had one hit in three at-bats. It marks the fifth time he has been optioned to Iowa this season.
The move gives Chicago three catchers on the roster, including veteran David Ross and rookie Kyle Schwarber. Ross started behind the plate on Friday, though, as he catches for starter Jon Lester.
Before his injury, Montero was batting .230 with a .337 on-base percentage, adding 10 home runs and 32 RBIs. He played in all but 13 games, and he should figure to slot back into his spot while Schwarber transitions to the outfield. Schwarber started in left field on Friday.
Montero's arrival will mean less playing time behind the plate for Schwarber, who Cubs manager Joe Maddon wants in the lineup as much as possible because of his hitting.
Maddon isn't sure how much the rookie will be utilized as a catcher with Montero's return, though, and he will leave it as a day-to-day situation. Schwarber hasn't caught this season for starter Jake Arrieta, who is scheduled to start on Sunday.
"I want to keep [Schwarber] solvent behind the plate," Maddon said. "You can't not catch him. You have to play him behind home plate at some point. We'll try to fit him in."
Since he was called up after the All-Star break, Schwarber was batting .333 with a .441 OBP, five home runs and 12 RBIs entering Friday.
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.