X-rays negative on Cubs slugger, who will undergo MRI on Friday after outfield collision
By Carrie Muskat
PHOENIX -- Kyle Schwarber was on crutches Thursday night, hoping his season didn't end because he hustled after a ball.
Schwarber collided with teammate Dexter Fowler in left center field, and the initial X-rays on the young Cubs outfielder's left leg were negative. As of now, Schwarber has a sprained left ankle, but he will undergo an MRI on Friday. Both his left knee and left ankle were tight and sore after the Cubs topped the D-backs, 14-6.
"You can't get mad about playing hard and getting hurt," Schwarber said. "I'd rather play hard and get hurt, than play not hard and get hurt."
Both Schwarber and Fowler were chasing after Jean Segura's fly ball into the gap in left center in the second inning. Schwarber's left leg got tangled with Fowler, and he fell onto the warning track. Segura kept running for an inside the park home run -- his second homer of the game.
"It had bad things written all over it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Schwarber play. "The guy hits the ball in the one spot we can't cover. You'd just rather see the ball go over the fence right there, and we would've been fine. It was perfectly placed on their part."
"The ball was literally in no man's land," Schwarber said. "It was right between us. I talked to [Fowler] and we both thought that person wasn't going to get the ball. You can only call it if you know you can get it. We both went at it, and I stuck my glove up and I was pretty close. He dove for it, too. We were playing hard. I have no regrets about playing hard and getting hurt."
Schwarber lay on the track on his stomach for a few minutes as the Cubs medical staff and players ran out to check on him. He was finally able to sit up, and eventually got to his feet, but needed to lean on athletic trainers PJ Mainville and Ed Halbur for support. He could not walk off under his own power, and was taken off the field on a cart.
Schwarber worked on catching and playing the outfield this spring, and was scheduled to catch Jason Hammel on Friday in the second game of the Cubs' series against the D-backs.
"A big guy moving around like that, he's a tough one," Anthony Rizzo said of Schwarber. "He's in good spirits. Hopefully it's not as bad as it looked. I'm optimistic. Big guys, we don't go down and break stuff. Hopefully, it's something that's short term."
Schwarber did play linebacker -- he was recruited by Ohio State -- and he was more concerned about Fowler than himself.
"I got to watch [a replay]," Schwarber said. "Now that you look back on it, you're like, 'That's why it probably did hurt a little bit.' I'm not going to be down in spirits. I'm going to wait until tomorrow and see what happens."
Schwarber's teammates rallied around him. Dan Vogelbach posted on Twitter: "Wow. Makes me sick to my stomach seeing that happen to my boy @kschwarb12. Praying for u homie. Stay strong #family."
Wow. Makes me sick to my stomach seeing that happen to my boy @kschwarb12. Praying for u homie. Stay strong #family
"You don't worry about that stuff," Schwarber said. "You worry about the moment right there. I was trying to grab the ball, and that didn't work out too well. Once everything kind of calmed down I was more worried, first off, how Dexter was doing, because I hit him pretty well. Then I started worrying about my knee and ankle."
The Cubs don't have another catcher/outfielder who could be called up, and Javier Baez, who was expected to be ready by Monday, had a minor setback when he fouled a ball off his face. Baez has been nursing a bruised left thumb.
"He's a hard player playing hard," Cubs pitcher John Lackey said. "He's not a guy who's going to back down. You hate [to see him hurt] because he's such a good dude. Hopefully, it's nothing too serious. As a pitcher, you appreciate the effort but you don't want to see anybody hurt. That's tough to watch."