More than three months ago, Ben Zobrist was given a personal leave of absence and placed on the restricted list. Through the month of August, he played 12 games on rehab assignment and hit .189/.333/.405 (7-for-37, with eight walks, two doubles and two home runs).
Don’t put too much stock in those numbers. Rehab assignment games and at-bats are more about the process than the results.
Tonight, the Cubs announced that Ben will rejoin the team:
Ben Zobrist reinstated from the restricted list and added to the 25- and 40-man rosters, David Bote optioned to Triple A Iowa, Mark Zagunis has been designated for assignment— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) September 1, 2019
The DFA of Mark Zagunis is no real surprise. He’s been pretty well blocked with the Cubs, even though he spent the first couple of months on the active roster, and he did get one last at-bat with them in the Little League Classic. This could be a good thing for Zagunis; some team with room on their roster could claim him and give him big-league playing time in September.
The demotion of David Bote IS a bit of a surprise. Now, Bote cannot return to the big-league active roster for 10 days, or whenever Iowa’s season ends. Iowa has qualified for the PCL playoffs and their first-round best-of-five series will go at least until Friday. The addition of Zobrist probably reduces Bote’s potential playing time.
Zobrist didn’t hit well in 26 games with the Cubs before he went on the restricted list: .241/.343/.253 (20-for-83, one double). It’s been said that the team misses him in the clubhouse, even if his production on the field is down. Hopefully, his return will help create a spark that this team badly needs. Zobrist needed to be added to the 40-man roster by today, August 31, in order to be eligible for the postseason.
There will likely be a few more additions to the roster in the morning, as rosters can expand to as many as 40 players September 1.