Cubs hope healthy Schwindel can find hitting stroke

Frank Schwindel was back in the Cubs' clubhouse and back on the active roster Thursday.

The first baseman has been sidelined with a back injury since June 17 when he pulled up while running to first base against Atlanta. He went 2-for-18 at the plate in five rehab games with Triple A Iowa.

"Yeah, I'm hoping it holds up," Schwindel said of his back. "Never was 100% from spring. I tried to grind through it and it got me that one day. Been doing a lot of rehab since, good program we're on. I think we'll be good to go.

"The swing feels good. I thought I was able to put some good at-bats together down there. Ready to get back in there, excited."

Schwindel wasn't in Thursday's starting lineup. The next question is: If he's healthy, will there be a return to last year's form, when he was top 10 in MLB in OPS after the all-star break in his first extended action in the majors?

"Absolutely, that's the plan," Schwindel said. "Feeling good, that's half the battle and then go from there, put together some good at-bats."

For the corresponding move, infielder Andrelton Simmons went on the injured list with a right shoulder strain. Manager David Ross said Simmons first felt the problem on a throw to first base in the Dodgers series.

"Came in after the off-day and could barely throw," Ross said of Simmons. "It just made a lot of sense with Frank being ready to give him the time to make sure this isn't something that lasts like it did in spring training. Shut him down now and see if we can get him as healthy as possible as fast as possible."

In other injury notes, pitcher Wade Miley threw long toss Thursday as he eases into rehab for a shoulder injury. Second baseman Nick Madrigal (groin) is at Wrigley Field trying to build up strength.

Ross recalls draft:

The MLB Draft has been pushed back on the calendar and will now begin Sunday. In an effort to at least approach more of the pageantry of the NFL and NBA Drafts, the first round will be held in prime time on ESPN and MLB TV.

There were obviously no television cameras around when David Ross was chosen in the seventh round out of Florida by the Dodgers in 1998.

"I think I was coming back from the College World Series," Ross said. "My recollection is I landed in Atlanta and I got on a pay phone to call the scout or whoever they told me to get in touch with. I need to fact-check that, I'll ask my mom. Maybe I dreamed that."

The Cubs have the seventh pick in the first round, so it will be a chance for fans to at least be introduced to the team's newest prospect right away.

"I think the David Rosses of the world are happy high-fiving your family at home and going to get a Chick-fil-A sandwich," he said with a laugh. "Or whoever sponsors the Cubs, I should say."

Another child arrives:

Another bundle of joy was delivered to the Cubs clubhouse, with pitcher Drew Smyly and his wife welcoming their third child, Summer, on Wednesday night. Justin Steele became a father to son Beau on Monday.

"Just the best day of my life," Steele said after returning to the mound Wednesday. "Becoming a dad was just so special. I was bawling my eyes out as soon as it happened. We had a bunch of names in mind going into it and we just kind of wanted to meet him and get to know him a little bit and we decided on Beau."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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