Kyle Schwarber has been informed by doctors that he cannot play in the outfield during the World Series, as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat writes. The young Cubs slugger, whose remarkable recovery from a torn ACL and LCL has been one of the most notable narratives of the postseason, will be limited to a pinch-hitting role while the series is played under NL rules at Wrigley Field. “It’s not disappointing at all,” Schwarber said. “It was a long shot at the most. Obviously, I want to be out there with my teammates, but facts are facts. I just can’t physically do it. I’ll be ready any time during the game to be out there to pinch-hit.” Schwarber, of course, remains a threat for the Cubs even in that limited role. Despite the lengthy layoff, he went 3-for-7 with a double (which was nearly a home run) in the first two games of the World Series while serving as a DH in Cleveland.
More from the division…
- Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper has posted a review of Reds righty Ariel Hernandez, who was just added to the club’s 40-man roster. He’d have been a sure Rule 5 pick otherwise, Cooper explains, because he delivers not only an upper-nineties heater but also a devastating curveball. Hernandez has taken a winding road to get to this point, nearly leaving the game and battling through persistent control problems until Cincinnati plucked him from the Diamondbacks last winter in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that commissioner Rob Manfred would not commit to any type of deadline regarding MLB’s investigation into the Cardinals’ unauthorized accessing of the Astros’ proprietary computer network, Ground Control. Manfred reiterated that the goal of the investigation is to be as thorough as possible and called the process “ongoing” but declined further comment. As Goold notes, though, the Cardinals are entering the offseason under the impression that they’ll be able to conduct business as usual. Nonetheless, it seems inevitable that the Cards will face some degree of penalization, with the loss of draft picks and/or significant international signing restrictions among the speculated means of league-imposed discipline.
- The Pirates got away from their focus on ground-ball pitchers a bit in 2016, but manager Clint Hurdle tells MLB.com’s Adam Berry that keeping the ball on the ground will remain a “cornerstone” for the Pirates’ pitching staff moving forward. “We tried some outliers this year to attack it a different way,” said Hurdle of the team’s disappointing 2016 run. As Berry explains, the Pirates are likely to target a veteran starter to join the rotation alongside the likes of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl this winter, and it would seemingly stand to reason that a pitcher who is proficient in inducing grounders would be the target.