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‘Can’t beat it’: Frank Schwindel enjoying and making most of opportunity with Cubs

12 months agoAndy Martinez

Things may not be going swimmingly for the Cubs, but that doesn’t mean Frank Swindel isn’t welcoming each and every moment he spends in the big leagues.

“This is awesome,” Schwindel said. “Playing first base for the Chicago Cubs, can’t beat it.”

It’s the childlike enthusiasm that Schwindel displays that is allowing him to have success in his first extended stay in the big leagues. In 14 games with the Cubs, Schwindel is slashing .370/.408/.739 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI.

“I just wanted to show and redeem myself and play as hard as I can,” Schwindel said.

Given what he’s been through in the last month and a half, that’s all Schwindel really can do.

Signed last November by the Athletics, Schwindel started the year at Triple-A Las Vegas. On June 29, his contract was selected and made his A’s debut. He homered in his first game and played 8 games for Oakland.

On July 12, he was optioned back to Triple-A and four days later he was designated for assignment. The Cubs claimed him off waivers on July 18 and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa.

“They obviously liked me, they claimed me and put me on the [40-man] roster,” he said. “I was obviously very excited to get picked up by the Cubs.”

As the trade deadline approached, Schwindel was cognizant of the Cubs’ situation. They were obvious sellers and that could potentially create open spots on the big-league roster.

As the trade deadline came and passed, and the Cubs flung deal after deal, it created a plethora of openings. And he got his call that day, being called up to the Cubs in Washington.

“It was obviously crazy,” Schwindel said. “Obviously, they made a bunch of moves which gave me the opportunity to show up and play and been having a great time so far and just want to keep it going.”

But Schwindel is aware of his situation. He’s the “guy” that’s taking over Anthony Rizzo’s position.

“No one can replace him,” he said. “He’s obviously an unbelievable player, Gold Glover, All-Star and obviously he’s one of the most like guys in the city.”

So, Schwindel isn’t trying to be Rizzo, not by any stretch. He’s just trying to be himself. And, so far, that’s been pretty good for both he and the Cubs.

“I’m gonna do the best I can and hopefully the fans like me even half as much as him some day,” Schwindel said.

In Miami, the 29-year-old had a 2-run home run Friday night, a 3-run, go-ahead double on Saturday night and a solo home run Sunday afternoon. It’s been the type of series that’s rewarded a persistent player.

In addition to his wild month-and-a-half stretch this season, he had an interesting path just to get to the majors. He spent 6 seasons in the minor leagues with the Kansas City Royals and made his big-league debut on Opening Day in 2019 for Kansas City.

Schwindel was released later that year in June and caught on with the Tigers. He spent all of 2020 at the Tigers’ alternate site before he was released and signed with the A’s.

“Definitely not easy,” Schwindel said. “Feel like you’re on top of the world and then the world’s all the way against you.”

He’s using all those experiences to make sure the hot streak isn’t just that and that he can be a part of the Cubs’ long-term plans.

“Just trying to stay consistent in my work and biggest thing for me is swinging at good pitches,” Schwindel said. “Try and stay as even as I can the rest of the way and obviously have as much fun as I can doing it.”

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