Cubs 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Zobrist Return

Ben Zobrist has been on a personal leave of absence since early May.

McNeil & Parkins Show
July 25, 2019 - 2:46 pm

(670 The Score) The Cubs remain "cautiously optimistic" that veteran infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist will return to the team later this season, general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday.

 Zobrist has been away from the team since early May on a personal leave of absence as he goes through divorce proceedings.

"We certainly want him to," Hoyer said on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score. "I think we've missed his gravitas and missed his at-bats. We've missed his leadership, for sure. We'd love to have him back. We're kind of cautiously optimistic that he will be back, but I don't really have anything definitive to add."

Zobrist, 38, was the MVP of the World Series when the Cubs broke their 108-year championship drought in 2016. He struggled earlier this season before stepping away, hitting .241 with a .596 OPS and just one extra-base hit in 83 at-bats. His .253 slugging percentage is the lowest of any position player on the team.

Even so, the Cubs' bench has been a black hole for long stretches, so the return of Zobrist could be helpful even if he only fills a minor role.

Last Thursday, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein indicated the Cubs were about a week away from knowing more on Zobrist's status, but they're not quite there yet.

"Hopefully we will know something fairly soon," Hoyer said. "It's on his timetable, which we respect. But obviously to come back this year, the wheels would have to get in motion prior to that. It's really hard to play in the big leagues. It's not the kind of thing where he can decide one day to come back and do it the next day. The wheels would have to get in motion, but right now, we don't have anything specific to announce."