Ben Zobrist has been easing back into baseball after nearly three months off, taking the weekend warrior route as he spends the week playing the more important role of dad. So between stints with South Bend, Myrtle Beach, and Iowa, he’s returned home to Tennessee to take care of his family.
His next step could actually see him playing with the Tennessee Smokies, who are home for five games starting this Friday. Zobrist skipped Double-A last weekend because the Smokies were only home through Saturday while the I-Cubs were on the other side of the state to play the Memphis Redbirds.
Nothing has been decided yet, at least not officially, but Iowa manager Marty Pevey believes Zobrist will join Albert Almora Jr., Daniel Descalso, and David Bote (who was optioned Monday) in Iowa.
“I think he’ll probably join us towards the weekend,” Pevey told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register. “I’m not positive of that but I think that’s probably what his plan is. We’ll just have to wait and see what Chicago’s plan is.”
Zobrist is batting .222 (6-for-27) with an .825 OPS in the minors and hit home runs from each side of the plate during his time in South Carolina. He went 2-for-8 with a double in three games with Iowa, driving in a run and scoring another. All things considered, he seems to be acclimating pretty well.
“He was awesome,” Pevey said. “He was in shape. He moved around really well. He didn’t seem his age. And he swung the bat very aggressively and squared some balls up.”
Regardless of where Zobrist spends the coming weekend, it’s likely to be the last of his rehab stint since September 1 roster expansion takes place the following weekend. Maintaining the pattern the Cubs have set so far would mean playing another two or three game with either Tennessee or Iowa in a few days, then returning home briefly before heading to Chicago at the end of the month.
Expect to hear more specifics in the next few days as it pertains to Zobrist’s next destination.
Update: Zobrist will actually split time between two affiliates this week, joining the Smokies in Kodak Thursday and then heading to Iowa for games on Friday and Saturday.