Schwarber adjusting to new spot in right field

Cubs manager Maddon suggests slugger could get time there in 2017

Schwarber adjusting to new spot in right field

MESA, Ariz. -- For the second straight game, Kyle Schwarber started in right field. The move is aimed at getting him ready for the days the Cubs play at Pittsburgh's PNC Park and other ballparks where right field may be a little smaller.

"It's not denigrating his abilities," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just to give him a break a little bit where there's a smaller field to cover. Left field [at PNC Park] is very large."

Schwarber is coming back from two torn ligaments in his left knee, and he is projected to start in left field. The Cubs are well covered in right field with four-time National League Gold Glove Award winner Jason Heyward.

In 2015, Schwarber started the last two games of the Cubs regular season at Miller Park in right, as well as the NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park and the first NL Division Series game at Busch Stadium.

"Part of it is just the versatility of the whole thing," said Maddon, who likes being able to move players in-game.

Schwarber started in right on Friday, and it definitely didn't affect his hitting as he launched a three-run homer in a win over the White Sox. If Schwarber can hit like that at PNC Park, Maddon said, "the ball lands in the Allegheny [River]."

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Because this is Schwarber's first year back from the knee injury, he is not expected to play 162 games, and he could sit against some left-handed starters. Maddon noted there weren't many southpaws in the NL Central or NL East, but plenty in the NL West.

"The point is, Schwarber would play most of the time in the division," Maddon said. "When we do see a lefty, it could be the perfect time to give him a rest."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.