Bad news from Orlando: Doctors were unable to save Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar’s left eye. They had put off surgery on it until yesterday to allow swelling to go down, but the damage, it seems, was just too extensive.
This is awful, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not the worst thing in the world. When that foul ball went into the dugout there were serious concerns that Salazar could die or have brain damage. As it stands, however, Salazar is expected to be released from the hospital today to recuperate at home and it is expected that he will be back at the work as the Braves’ single-A manager down in Lynchburg in four to six weeks.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.