Sweeney hopes his return leaves a lasting impression

Sweeney hopes his return leaves a lasting impression
September 1, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Paul LaTour

Ryan Sweeney wants to remain with the Chicago Cubs beyond this season. He’s already shown he’s willing to run through walls — or at least into them — to prove his value.

“I’m going to remain aggressive,” Sweeney said. “I’m still going to run into a wall if I have to.”

Sweeney returns to the Cubs lineup for today’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. He’s playing center field and batting fifth after being activated from the 60-day disabled list.

His aggressiveness backfired when he fractured a rib on his left side crashing into the wall making a catch at Safeco Field in Seattle on June 30. The setback came just as Sweeney was showing himself to be a legitimate option in the Cubs starting outfield.

[MORE: Cubs activate Sweeney, Valbuena from DL]

He was batting .295 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 44 games this season before the injury. Following the free-agent deal he signed May 6 with the Cubs, Sweeney said he was feeling optimistic about how things were going until he met the remodeled Safeco outfield fence.

“To be able to play every day again was huge, so to have a freak thing happen like that running into the wall is definitely not something you want to happen,” Sweeney said.

With the season entering its final month, Sweeney will get another chance now to impress the Cubs' front office. The minor-league deal he signed in the offseason expires after the season, but the 28-year-old said he hasn’t heard from anybody in the front office about next season.

“I haven’t talked to them about anything,” he said. “I would definitely like to be back here next year, but you just never know what’s going to happen. I would like to be back here for sure. I like where this team is going, and feel like it’s a good fit for me.”

Manager Dale Sveum has made no secret he likes what Sweeney brings to the table — a left-hand bat, good experience and a tough-as-nails defense.

Sveum clearly appreciated hearing that Sweeney would run into a wall again if necessary.

“Let’s hope his elbow doesn’t get in the way of his ribs next time,” Sveum said with a chuckle.