Schwarber could be in lineup for finale

Cubs rookie to see less time behind plate down stretch

Schwarber could be in lineup for finale

ST. LOUIS -- Rookie Kyle Schwarber, sidelined with a sore right rib cage, could return to the Cubs' starting lineup Wednesday. However, he most likely will not start at catcher the rest of the season.

"You may not see him start, but you could still see him catch," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Schwarber, who could sub at catcher in late innings. Schwarber pinch-hit in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 8-5 win and grounded out.

The Cubs still want Schwarber, who is batting .268 with 13 homers in 49 games, to continue his development as a catcher.

"The fact that he wants to catch is a really big deal," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "A lot of guys catch through college and the Minor Leagues and they don't love it. That's a position where you have to sit in a film room and study like crazy and you have to be willing to take the pounding necessary, and he's willing to do it. He's not at the level of guys like [Miguel] Montero and [David] Ross, who have done it in the big leagues for a long time. [Schwarber] can certainly get there."

• The Cubs activated Neil Ramirez from the disabled list and recalled Yoervis Medina from Triple-A Iowa, giving them two more relievers in the bullpen.

"I don't know if there's enough chairs out there actually," Maddon quipped.

Ramirez has spent time on the disabled list because of his shoulder and also because of abdominal soreness. He was projected as a key part of the Cubs' bullpen.

"It's been awesome to watch the guys from a personal standpoint but frustrating to not be a part of it," Ramirez said Tuesday. "Being back here for this last month, I want to be a part of it, and just compete."

He said part of the problems this season may have been trying to throw too hard.

"I think that might be one of the reasons [the injuries] happened," Ramirez said. "Now I'm out there and focused on competing. If it's 93 [mph], it's 93; if it's 95, it's 95. As long as my pitches have the life and carry through the zone, I should be fine."

• Double-A Tennessee's Willson Contreras went 4-for-4 Monday night to clinch the Southern League batting title, finishing at .333. He's the first Smokies player since Joe Gate in 1978 to capture the league batting title. He had at least one hit in 92 of his 126 contests, or 73 percent.

"It says a lot about the guy's makeup to go out on the last day and go 4-for-4," Hoyer said of Contreras, who most likely will be invited to big league Spring Training camp in 2016.

Anthony Iapoce, the Cubs' roving Minor League hitting coordinator, said he talked to Contreras on Monday night and congratulated the young catcher. Iapoce said Contreras and Schwarber "hit the ball the hardest and made the loudest sound" of anyone in the organization.

"Every time you saw him work, it was with the same focus and intense and serious and 'I'm going to show some people' [attitude]," Iapoce said.

Jorge Soler, on the DL with a left oblique strain, could play in a simulated game when the Cubs are in Philadelphia, starting Thursday.

• Reliever Jason Motte, on the DL with a right shoulder strain, has yet to throw off the mound. He is making progress, throwing from 120 feet on Tuesday.

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.