Veteran utilityman Ben Zobrist has been away from the Cubs since May 8th owing to a previously undisclosed personal matter. It emerged today that the indefinite absence relates to marital troubles that have resulted in divorce proceedings, as ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers reports.
Details of the matter are really not of interest from a baseball perspective, but Zobrist’s absence does have an obvious impact on the Cubs’ roster situation. It is not known whether he is receiving his salary — $12MM this season, his final under contract in Chicago — during his absence. By placing Zobrist on the restricted list, the Cubs have been able to avoid playing a man down.
Manager Joe Maddon says there’s still “no indication” as to when Zobrist will return to the club. The Cubs informed the 14-year veteran, who’ll soon turn 38 years of age, that he’s free to take as much time away as he needs.
Zobrist has appeared primarily in the corner outfield and at second base this year. In his absence, the club will likely continue to spread playing time at those positions among a deep and versatile assortment of other players.