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Schwarber heating up near end of season

Cubs prospect figures out swing, hits another homer for Daytona
August 23, 2014

Change has been a major part of Kyle Schwarber's first Minor League season. Then again, so have home runs.

Playing at his third level in less than three months, the Cubs' No. 7 prospect is getting back into a groove. He smacked his 14th homer of the season -- and second in as many games -- on Friday night as Class A Advanced Daytona outslugged Lakeland, 10-6.

"I felt comfortable, I'm starting to feel comfortable at the plate and contributing any way I can," Schwarber said. "I'm just starting to feel good again, feeling comfortable in the box again. ... It's baseball, it's going through rough patches, you have to realize that."

After his fly balls found gloves in his first two at-bats, Schwarber smacked his sixth Florida State League homer with two outs and Jacob Hannemann at second.

"It was a good chance [Lakeland pitcher Darryl Norris was] going off-speed again, got a base open [and] he threw a changeup," the 21-year-old designated hitter said. "It was a little down but down the middle, but I got enough of it."

It was the third homer in five games for the Indiana University product, who went 10 games without one prior to that stretch.

Since being drafted fourth overall in June, Schwarber has gone through hot streaks and rough patches but said he knows both are part of the game. Now that he plays every day -- unlike college -- he has to "work out [tough stretches] as you go."

"I've been putting in [extra work], trying to figure out my swing -- thanks to my coaches for helping me figure things out -- and just trying to figure out mechanical things, [like] head movement," he said. "I'm trying to keep it still more, not having such a violent load, just calm down the load a little, make it smoother."

The results have been visible not only in his power surge but in his batting average. Schwarber has 14 hits in his last nine games, bringing his slash line to .361/.448/.602 in 36 games with Daytona.

Before moving up to the FSL, the left-handed hitter tore up the Northwest League with four homers and 10 RBIs in five games with Short-Season Boise. He spent 23 games with Class A Kane County and added four blasts and 15 RBIs in 23 contests.

"Overall, it's been a really good season for me, getting my feet wet in professional baseball, figuring out what the grind is, getting to know different teammates, different coaches, different managers," Schwarber said. "I've been on [multiple] teams, but I wouldn't change it for anything. It's been a little nuts, but I'm just happy that the Cubs gave me an opportunity to continue to chase my dream of playing professional baseball at the highest level."

While his statistics are back on the rise, Schwarber said he's more focused on helping Daytona reach the playoffs. The Cubs have a two-game lead over second-place Tampa in the North Division second-half race with less than two weeks remaining.

Bijan Rademacher drove in a career-high five runs in Friday's win and is hitting .411 with 12 RBIs in his last 10 games following a 4-for-45 funk;.

"He is starting to feel comfortable again; he was going through a rough patch as well," Schwarber said. "He is calming down, starting to slow down. [We] just talk it out, talk about what you're feeling like, do a couple tee drills here and there."

After a two-hour rain delay knocked out Cubs starter Juan Paniagua in the third inning, Yao-Lin Wang (4-5) tossed two perfect frames to pick up the victory.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.