Cubs News

In return to Cubs, ‘Coach’ Dansby Swanson is ready to get back to winning

10 months agoTony Andracki

Don’t worry, Dansby Swanson has no intentions of quitting his day job.

But while he was on the IL the last couple weeks with a heel contusion, the Cubs shortstop made the most of his time out of the lineup.

“I felt like I was going a little stir crazy,” said Swanson, who was activated Saturday morning. “I felt like I was everybody’s honorable assistant — hitting coaches, pitching coaches, everybody. I felt like an assistant coach for the last two weeks.

“It was driving me nuts. I love playing. I love going out there every day and being able to compete with the guys on the team and do things you can to win.”

That last word is a buzzword for Swanson — it’s all about winning for the All-Star who signed a 7-year, $177 million deal with the Cubs over the winter.

He has plenty of time left in his playing career, but when that’s said and done, would he ever turn to coaching?

“My wife tells me I’m for sure coaching,” Swanson joked. “I don’t know. That’s so far down the line. I do enjoy helping other people. That’s kind of my personality in general. And obviously if it’s gonna helps us win, that’s like two great things at once.”

Back in the lineup Saturday, he made his impact obvious immediately. He doubled on the first pitch he saw in the 2nd inning and came around to score the Cubs’ 1st run on Christopher Morel’s single. In the 3rd inning, Swanson drove home the game-tying run with a 2-out single up the middle. He later added a walk and played his usual stellar defense at shortstop.

Swanson prides himself on being in the lineup every day. He missed just 1 game over the last 3 years with Atlanta.

Most of the time off was just about letting his injury heal. He has been able to do some baseball activities on this homestand, including running the bases on Friday.

It had been 16 days since Swanson last played but he has been working with the Cubs staff to keep his timing down at the plate in an effort to avoid a rehab stint in the minor leagues.

Even though he may not be quite 100% yet, Swanson will take it easy when he can on the bases or in the field. He fully intends on playing every game the rest of the way for the Cubs.

“I wouldn’t be out there if I didn’t feel like I was able to be a productive baseball player,” Swanson said. “Finally got to that point and we’re ready to go.”

The Cubs are excited to have him back, as they are in the midst of a crucial stretch of games leading up to the trade deadline.

“Dansby’s really important to our success and his play has been missed,” David Ross said. “Love having him in the lineup, his leadership on the field. Obviously defensively, his hardware speaks for itself. It’s nice to have him back. He’s worked really hard and been itching to get back.

“I think he’s tried to be manager and hitting coach and infield coach and stuff. He just can’t turn it off. It’s been fun watching him interact around the dugout and in the clubhouse sometimes. We’ve had a lot of good conversations while he’s been down.”

While was out, Swanson was aware of how the game can be seen from a different perspective, taking a 30,000-foot view of the game and the Cubs.

He was also reminded how easy the game can seem when you’re just watching and not playing. And he tried to impart his wisdom on the rest of the team and help the Cubs win even when he wasn’t playing.

“Having some of the conversations about what we could do to simplify,” Swanson said. “Just basically talking about different cues whether it’s hitters or pitchers or whatever that could potentially get them on a roll.

“You never know what word, what voice — you could be saying the same thing three different ways and it resonates with one guy one way and another guy a different way. Just doing whatever I can to help the guys and instill confidence in one another.”

It’s that type of makeup that sold the Cubs on Swanson over the winter. They know how much he wants to impact the rest of the organization and help win any way possible.

“I think the stuff that stands out about him is the little details that don’t go unnoticed by winning players,” Ross said. “He’s a winning player, been a part of a lot of winning, came up in a winning environment and winning a world championship and understands the areas we need to improve.

“Coming into my office or during games and trying to help out with others, he’s very open about talking to young guys, being there for young guys. Even when they get sent down, he gives young guys his cell phone number just like, ‘hey, if I can help in any way, you need something.’

“It’s just really important to value the small details and notice those in-game. Even when you have a game that you win and notice the things that need to improve. That’s kinda how I see things sometimes. He’s in that same boat of just we’ve gotta get better here, we’ve gotta get better there — win or lose.”

But if Swanson ever wanted to coach, where would he slot in on the Cubs staff?

“I’d put him on the bases,” Ross said. “I’d probably put him at 3rd base coach. He sees a lot. He’s very aware of the surroundings, how the game’s moving, the impact.”

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