GOOD NEWS: The Cubs’ outstanding player has returned to the starting lineup following a much-needed injury layoff…

When Dansby Swanson showed up for his first spring training in Mesa, Arizona in 2022, he didn’t think twice before posting it.

Cubs' Dansby Swanson back in lineup. Is he ready to start earning that superstar  money again? - Chicago Sun-Times

Initially, he desired to be a member of the Cubs, who signed the shortstop in free agency for a total of $177 million spread over seven years. He is the guy that most embodies the values of both the big league Cubs and the prospects coming up through the ranks of the organisation.

Second, he wanted to play every day, and he could feel it in his bones. Swanson participated in every game except one during his final three seasons in Atlanta, 2020–22, going 381–382 when answering the bell. He wanted that to be the cornerstone of how he would fulfil his enormous contract with the Cubs.

“The best players must play if we want to win,” he declared at the time. You have to look after yourself if you want to be among the best athletes. You must look out for your teammates if you want to look out for yourself. We shall now introduce this same mindset here. It has to.

Excellent concept. Not as much, though.

Swanson was out of 15 games in 2023, and even then, he appeared to be wearing out as the Cubs faltered and missed the playoffs by a slim margin. Swanson spent a period on the injured list to rest his painful right knee, but he was back in the starting lineup for the first time since May 7 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. This season, he has already missed eleven games. He was hitting.209./.285/.341 for the season prior to the Braves series opening. On the same swing, he had a single home run, an extra base hit, and an RBI since April 24.

Swanson’s knee, which he initially hurt while sliding to second base on a steal on April 25, contributed to his lack of output at the plate. However, with him and second baseman Nico Hoerner returning for the first time since May 13, it’s clear what the Cubs, who haven’t won enough games to paint a clear image or hit at all, need from him.

Not even if Swanson doesn’t offer an explanation. Simply begin making that superstar salary.

Counsell stated, “We’re getting two players back that are usually in our lineup, and that should help.” Is this the way forward? Is this the response? Though I doubt anyone would claim this is the solution, it will be beneficial.

For the second time in his career, Swanson, who was batting eighth in the order in his first at-bat in two weeks, scored two runs in the second inning off of singles off Braves starter Charlie Morton’s glove and then scored on a passed ball. He reached second base on a double with one out in the fourth inning, but he was left behind. Still, it was a positive beginning.

The two-time Gold Glove winner claims to be physically back to 100%, but that’s not all. He acknowledges that he clings a little too tenaciously to the idea of playing the field whenever it is feasible, but that attempting to play through discomfort and failing at it has also made him more lucid.

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