3/15 Stewart: “My confidence is sky high”
It was only a Minor League game, and Ian Stewart didn’t play in the field, but he couldn’t believe how good he felt at the plate. That could be great news for the Cubs.
Stewart got his first in-game at-bats since Feb. 21 when he led off every inning Thursday for both teams in a Minor League game at Fitch Park.
“By my count I was 2-for-5, maybe 1-for-5,” he said. “I maybe gave myself one [hit].”
That didn’t matter. What did was that his wrist passed all tests. Stewart was limited to 55 games last season before undergoing surgery on his left wrist. He spent the offseason rehabbing and hitting with Hall of Famer Rod Carew, and this spring, doubled in his first at-bat in an intrasquad game on Feb. 21. But Stewart felt tightness in his left quad as he ran to first, and had not played since.
If he’s healthy and can provide the Cubs with the offense he put together in 2009 with the Rockies, they could have a 20-plus home run hitter who can drive in 70 RBIs.
“I still think I will be [that guy], and I think I will be this year,” Stewart said. “It’s just been such a relief for me knowing that the surgery that I got worked and I have no lingering issues in my wrist and my bat speed feels back.
“The toughest part for me last year was I could hit [batting practice] all day because they were throwing it down the middle and you could control everything,” he said. “Once the game came, and pitches were moving and breaking, and I just couldn’t adjust because the wrist was holding me back. Now there’s none of that.
“My confidence is really sky high right now as far as my hitting and everything goes. I was really surprised at how I was able to feel in the box [Thursday] and tracking pitches and some swings I put on the baseball.”
— Carrie Muskat