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Kyle Schwarber returns to Cubs after stint in minors

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 03: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs follows the flight of his grand slam home run in the 7th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on June 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — The Cubs have recalled Kyle Schwarber, two weeks after sending him to Triple-A Iowa, the team confirmed on Thursday morning.

Schwarber was 12-for-35 (.343) with four home runs during an 11-game stint with Iowa. Schwarber struck out 12 times but whiffed only three times in his final five games.

Fans won’t have to wait long to see Schwarber play, since Joe Maddon has already put him in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Brewers in left field. Though he discussed batting him in the leadoff spot on Wednesday, Schwarber will bat fifth in the lineup at Wrigley Field.

After a successful debut in the Cubs’ run to the 2015 NLCS, then a surprise and successful appearance in the World Series in 2016 after a knee injury early in the season, Schwarber has faced the first true struggle of his major league career. Struggling from the start as Maddon experimented with him in the leadoff spot, Schwarber batted just .171 in 64 games this season with a low on-base percentage of .295.

While his power numbers (12 home runs) and walks (36) were high, his 75 strikeouts and inability to hit consistently finally forced the Cubs hand in late July as he went to the minor leagues.

Schwarber had similar strikeout troubles in Iowa when he first arrived with the Triple-A, striking out seven times in his first four games. Yet things started turning for the outfielder the last week in Iowa, hitting two-homers in back-to-back games against Round Rock on June 30th and July 1st.

In the final six games with the Cubs, Schwarber had seven RBIs and just four strikeouts, earning the chance to return to the major leagues.