Cubs slugger Schwarber not cleared for outfield play

Updated: 

Kyle Schwarber's remarkable return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament has not progressed to the point that he can play the outfield, so he will be limited to pinch-hitting duties for the three World Series games at Wrigley Field.

Schwarber suffered the serious knee injury following a collision with Dexter Fowler in April and Cubs president Theo Epstein informed reporters of the decision on Thursday, not long after dozens of cameras followed Schwarber's every move during the team's off-day workout.

Manager Joe Maddon had said earlier that if Schwarber was in the outfield taking fly balls during the workout, there was a good chance he would play. The 23-year-old October hitting hero did indeed take his glove to left field, but did not catch any balls.

Epstein burst the bubble not long after by relaying the news that doctors had not cleared Schwarber to play in the field.

"Seeing how well Kyle swung the bat and how it impacted us and the stage we're on, there's the possibility of us getting carried away and throwing caution to the wind," Epstein said.

"That's why you have to consult the doctors. Dr Cooper wants him to play, too, but he could not clear him. We're all disappointed, but we're all really excited to have him as a pinch-hitter and fully confident."

While disappointed, Epstein added: "The story, is that it's absolutely remarkable what he did after only seeing live pitching for four days. We didn't expect him to be here at this point.

"He's facing the best pitching in the world, and had incredible at-bat after incredible at-bat [in the World Series] and got on base and drove in runs and helped us win a ballgame. We're in awe of what he did and excited about what he could do in the Series."

Schwarber served as the designated hitter for games one and two in Cleveland and reached base in five of nine plate appearances while driving in a pair of runs.

He had not played in a regulation game since tearing his ACL on April 7 in the Cubs' third game of the regular season.

"Facts are facts ... you got to respect the doctor's opinion," Schwarber told reporters Thursday, adding: "I got a lot of trust in this team. ... I know my role and going to embrace it."