Kyle Schwarber to start vs. righties only for now, Joe Maddon says

LOS ANGELES -- Until further notice, Chicago Cubs outfielder and World Series hero Kyle Schwarber is likely to start against right-handed pitchers only, according to manager Joe Maddon.

Schwarber, who bats left-handed, is hitting .181 this season after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Thursday's game against the San Francisco Giants. He has started just six games against left-handed pitchers this season, and none since April 30, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

"My concern when a guy is struggling a little bit is, you don't want him to get too many at-bats," Maddon said before Friday's 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Then it's really hard to get out of that mental, physical and numerical hole. By not getting him as many at-bats, it will be easy to get back to a number he's more comfortable with."

Maddon isn't really concerned with Schwarber's batting average but knows young players tend to look "up at the scoreboard" and can put extra pressure on themselves because of it. Maddon said he just wants to see good at-bats, and right now Schwarber is not getting enough against righties or lefties. He has struck out 55 times, fourth most in the National League.

"If he's not swinging the bat well against righties, it's a bad assumption on my part he's going to swing it well against lefties," Maddon said.

Schwarber wasn't in the lineup Friday against Dodgers southpaw Alex Wood, and he won't play Sunday against Clayton Kershaw. Regarding the possibility of Schwarber being labeled a platoon player right now, Maddon said, "If people want to say that, I can't avoid it."

Wood is probably a pitcher Schwarber would have faced in the past, but Maddon said Schwarber's slump combined with Wood's recent performance made it an easy decision.

"Would I have played him if he was hot, overall?" Maddon said. "May have."

Schwarber's on-base percentage also has plummeted, falling below .300 (.299) for the first time this season after Thursday's performance, but Maddon isn't quite ready to compare Schwarber's situation with that of Jason Heyward's in 2016. Maddon dropped a slumping Heyward in the batting order last season and even gave him a full weekend off late in the year.

"Different set of circumstances," Maddon said. "[We'll] pick his spots right now. Once he goes [starts hitting], he'll play against anybody."

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