Epstein discusses Schwarber's role in 2017

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by - Senior Editor -
Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports
Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

Kyle Schwarber is an offensive juggernaut with the Chicago Cubs and proved his tremendous value in the 2016 World Series win against the Cleveland Indians. During the Fall Classic, he hit .412 with seven hits, a double and two RBIs to help the Cubs win their first World Series in over 100 years.

However, Schwarber is just now really back from suffering a serious ACL and LCL injury in his left knee in 2016. Schwarber has repeatedly said that he would still like to catch occasionally if he is medically cleared.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein was interviewed by the media on Tuesday afternoon and had the following to say about Schwarber's position on the baseball field moving forward.

"We're going to really go slow with it, like one or two days a week in Spring Training," Epstein said on Tuesday. "His primary focus will be left field. The goal if he is cleared is to have him ready potentially at the end of Spring Training to fill that role of third catcher.

Epstein knows that his offensive firepower is so deadly in the Cubs lineup that they can't jeopardize him getting hurt again.

"His future is too valuable and we want him to have the longest possible career," Epstein said. "He makes such a great impact on us with his bat and with the person that he is that we don't want to do anything to jeopardize the length and impact of his career. We'll walk before we run -- or walk before we squat, I guess would be the appropriate thing to say, and really ease into it."

Schwarber still has the passion for catching but he knows there might be limitations on what he can do defensively.

"If I can do it, I want to do it," Schwarber said on Tuesday. "I still have the passion for catching. If I can do it, I'd like to do it, but if it's not medically smart, don't risk it."

In 2015, Schwarber hit .246 with 16 home runs, 43 RBIs with an outstanding .842 OPS in only 69 games (273 at-bats) in his rookie season. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round (4th overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft.

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