Cubs option Frank Schwindel: ‘Gotta produce’ in this league

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Cubs option Schwindel: ‘Gotta produce’ in this league originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Frank Schwindel was one of the feel-good stories for the Cubs over the final two months of 2021, the 29-year-old rookie taking baseball by storm offensively.

He’s had a rough go of it to start 2022, and on Sunday the Cubs optioned the scuffling first baseman to Triple-A Iowa.

One month into the 2022 season, you could make a case for a handful of Cubs players to get sent out based on production alone. But Schwindel has minor-league options remaining.

“Get down there, work on some things, take a little bit of the pressure off and let him continue to get back to what we expect him to be and what he expects himself to be,” manager David Ross said.

“This is a league that you gotta produce and he’s working on some things. Just going to take a little bit of the bright lights off and let him work through some things.”

In 56 games with the Cubs last season, Schwindel hit .342/.389/.613 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. He took home NL Rookie of the Month in both August and September — the only two months he was with the Cubs. They called him up after dealing Anthony Rizzo at the trade deadline.

In 25 games this season, he’s hitting .209/.250/.308 with two homers and nine RBIs, including a .179/.220/.268 slash line over his last 16 games (59 plate appearances).

“It doesn’t look like he’s quite seeing the ball the way he was early on,” Ross said. “He's not a guy that historically walks a lot, but he would take his walks a little bit more last year.

“It looks like he’s searching for that hit, and we kind of swing our way out of it sometimes, rather than being a little bit more patient and finding out where the strike zone is and how you're connected.

“I think all that stuff. Sometimes we point out one problem, but it's something small that fixes a lot of different things. Hopefully he can find that real soon.”

On the other end of things, Schwindel’s option gives Alfonso Rivas an opportunity at first base, where he’s positioned to take on the bulk of playing time.

Rivas entered Sunday with a career .324 average and .415 on-base percentage in 30 games with the Cubs, who first promoted him to the big leagues late last season.

"[Rivas] set himself up," Ross said. "I think that's part of having a little bit of depth there and [Rivas] off to a good start. Showing a nice calm approach in the box, a really good defensive player.

"Allows him to get a little runway here and see what he can prove to continue to establish himself as a regular big-leaguer."

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