Cubs Welcome Back Ben Zobrist With Open Arms

"I am excited to be back," Zobrist says.

Bruce Levine
September 01, 2019 - 2:31 pm

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- After missing nearly four months on a personal leave of absence, veteran Cubs utilityman Ben Zobrist returned to the active roster Sunday.

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"I am excited to be back in the clubhouse with the guys," Zobrist said in a pregame media session. "I got to go down and take some ground balls and BP last night. Wrigley Field is a special place. Any time you have a chance to be here, I don't take it for granted. I am excited to be back."

Zobrist, 38, stepped away from the Cubs in early May to focus his attention on his family as he and his wife began divorce proceedings. On Sunday, he indicated those proceedings are on hold, saying that there's "no legal action going on."

He'll be eased back into the Cubs' lineup initially, and manager Joe Maddon has indicated that Zobrist will be used in the leadoff spot at times. Zobrist likely won't make a start until Tuesday, Maddon said.

Zobrist was unsure of how much his personal matters affected his on-field performance early in the season.

"The timing is right for me to be here now," Zobrist said. "I feel god about that, and I feel good enough to be here just to help the club. I hope I can be of help down the stretch and help get us in the playoffs and hopefully a lot further."

Zobrist met with the entire Cubs team back in June and explained his situation.

"I didn't know if I would come back at all," he said. "I am not sure how much baseball I would be playing again. The Cubs were great. They told me just take the time you need. They said you have to do what is most important to you and your family. They understood that, and I am nothing but grateful for how they handled the whole situation. They gave me time and space to handle everything."

Zobrist's teammates were happy to see him back.

"Any time you can add a guy that has got it done before and won it going down the stretch, you can obviously boost your clubhouse," left-hander Jon Lester said on 670 The Score on Saturday. "He has won it all twice. Any time you add a guy like that, it helps you going forward." 

The Cubs' hope is that the addition of Zobrist lengthens the depth of their lineup. 

"We are all excited to have him back," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "Any time you get a guy who goes up there and works a really good at-bat and sees all those pitches and works the count, that is good for everyone in the lineup."

Zobrist had previously indicated to those around him that he would retire after the 2019 season. On Sunday, he said he wasn't certain on whether he'll retire at season's end.

For now, Zobrist's focus in on helping the Cubs as much as he can in the final 27 games of the season and playing the sport he loves. 

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.