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Schwarber won’t be playing outfield for Cubs in Series

Mark Gonzales
Chicago Tribune
Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs waits to take batting practice Thursday at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ hopes of expanding slugger Kyle Schwarber’s role to the outfield for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series suffered a setback Thursday that essentially served in his best interests.

Schwarber, who went 3-for-7 with two walks as the designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, didn’t receive medical clearance from doctors Stephen Grzylo and Daniel Cooper to play left field after undergoing major surgery six months ago to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee.

“This is not disappointing at all,” said Schwarber, who was supposed to be out until spring training but got medical clearance about 10 days ago to run and hit. “It was a long shot at the most. Obviously I want to be out there for my teammates. It’s the competitor inside me. But facts are facts. I just can’t physically do it. I’ll be ready during the game to pinch-hit.”

Schwarber stood in the outfield during Thursday’s workout at Wrigley Field, but it was evident that he wasn’t going to chase any flies in his direction. Nor did Schwarber work on his defense after being cleared.

“It was part of the plan,” said Schwarber, who injured his knee April 7 and was operated on by Cooper two weeks later. “Just the what if? I wanted to give it a shot. You got to respect the opinion of the doctor. He has the best interests for me.”

President Theo Epstein was disappointed that Schwarber, who hit five home runs in the 2015 postseason, wasn’t cleared to play the outfield but respected the doctors’ decision after telephone conversations prior to Thursday’s workout.

“Medically, the doctors were very convicted there was too much risk in playing the outfield because of the dynamic actions involved, the instantaneous reactions, the need to cut in the outfield, the dynamic athletic moments that are unanticipated in the outfield,” Epstein said.

“There was too much risk associated with playing the field at this time, and we have to look out for Kyle’s best interests.”

Epstein reiterated that he has faith in the Cubs’ other outfielders, stressing they won 103 games despite missing Schwarber for nearly all of the regular season.

Around the horn

Commissioner Rob Manfred says he plans to meet with Indians owner Paul Dolan following the World Series to discuss the team’s continued use of the controversial Chief Wahoo logo.

The smiling, red-faced symbol has stirred strong opinions for years. Manfred said he understands “that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why.”

Manfred said he also appreciates the segment of fans who are attached to the character, which still appears on some of the Indians’ caps and sleeves of game jerseys.

... Former Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson has been granted free agency after declining an outright assignment to the minor leagues.

The move Thursday came a day after the Rangers announced that Tolleson had cleared outright waivers and would be assigned to Triple A Round Rock.

Associated Press contributed

World Series

Cleveland vs. Chicago

All games 8 p.m. on Fox

Best-of-7 (x-if necessary)

Series tied 1-1

■ Game 1: Cleveland 6-0

■ Wednesday: Chicago 5-1

■ Friday: Cleveland (Tomlin 13-9)at Chicago (Hendricks 16-8)

Saturday: Cleveland (Kluber 18-9)at Chicago (Lackey 11-8)

■ x-Sunday: at Chicago

■ x-Tuesday: at Cleveland

■ x-Wednesday, Nov. 2: at Cleveland