From beat writer Mark D. Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune comes word that White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza has been activated off the 15-day disabled list. MLB rosters expanded on September 1, so no corresponding move was necessary.
De Aza wound up missing a little more than two weeks with a bruised left ribcage. He will return on Sunday to a .281/.346/.398 batting line, six home runs and 44 RBI. He also boasts 21 stolen bases.
DeWayne Wise did a nice job filling in while De Aza was sidelined and should remain fairly active down the stretch as the Pale Hose attempt to win their first division title since the 2008 season.
Chicago is currently one game up over the Tigers in the American League Central standings. The two teams play this evening in the series finale of a three-game set that has so far gone Detroit’s way.
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.