Schwindel's simple mission post-demotion: ‘Just don't suck'


Frank Schwindel didn’t have much time to mentally reset after the Cubs optioned him to Triple-A Iowa three weeks ago, only to recall him less than 24 hours later.

But that doesn’t mean the 29-year-old first baseman didn’t take away anything from the whirlwind experience that saw him catch a last-minute flight to meet the team in San Diego.

“Just don't suck, pretty much,” Schwindel said. “It was just a tough start, but I really had to lock it in.”

Schwindel was a feel-good story for the Cubs last season after their trade deadline selloff, quickly becoming a fan favorite as he ran with his first extended opportunity in the big leagues.

But after a slow start this season — he was hitting .209/.250/.308 with two home runs and nine RBIs through 25 games — the Cubs optioned him to Iowa on May 8.

“I think I was putting a little too much pressure on myself early on to try and replicate that season that I had last year,” said Schwindel, the 2021 NL Rookie of the Month in August and September.

“But it's all part of baseball where it's not always good. I think [the demotion] helped in a way to kind of polish off some things and trying to build off that from there.”

Schwindel said he hasn’t changed too much with his routine but has locked in on taking what pitchers give him while trying to not be too fine at the plate by only swinging at his pitch.

He went 0-for-3 in his first game back, May 9 against the Padres, and 0-for-1 the next day, missing a go-ahead, ninth-inning grand slam by a couple feet.

But his numbers have been trending upward since then. In 19 games since (entering Tuesday), he’s hitting .257/.304/.487 with four homers and 14 RBIs.

That includes a game-winning home run May 22 vs. the Diamondbacks, when he and Patrick Wisdom became the first pair of Cubs teammates to hit back-to-back homers in consecutive games since 1969.

“You’ve got to turn that into a positive,” Schwindel said of the demotion. “Obviously, it was tough conversation when it happened, but it worked out where I was back in the lineup the next day.

“Just trying to be more precise with the work and put in extra work on the video and iPads and stuff like that. Other than that, just trying to have more fun.” 

Through the ups and downs, Schwindel continues to carry a positive attitude and be a "breath of fresh air," as team president Jed Hoyer said.

"Sometimes what you think might be mechanical is just the ups and downs of our sport," Hoyer said. "It’s great to have him back.

"He’s a breath of fresh air. He enjoys every day he has in the big leagues. And it’s fun to see him catch fire. I think that was a good lesson for all of us.

"Sometimes it’s one day away."

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