Ben Zobrist was back with the Cubs on Sunday and speaking publicly for the first time since leaving the team in May and deciding in July that he wanted to return.
The gist of his remarks: He doesn't regret stepping away from baseball in the wake of divorce proceedings with his wife, Julianna. At 38, he isn't sure this will be his last MLB season. And while he's with the Cubs, he'll give 100% as they chase the Cardinals in the NL Central.
From his news conference at Wrigley Field, via the Chicago Tribune:
"It was a very easy decision for me (to step away), very easy. Because I'm a 100% focus type of person and I knew at that moment there was no way I could be here and be focused while I was here.
"I didn't want to give half effort while I was here and think about where my head and heart really were. So I knew that for at least a period of time I had to fully put myself back in Nashville at home with my family, doing everything I could to keep my family together. That was my focus.
"That's where my heart was at the time, and that's where my heart remains. I'm here now because my heart feels like while I'm here at the field I can put 100% into it. And I can really get after it with my teammates, so I'm really looking forward to that push down the stretch."
Zobrist didn't play Sunday against the Brewers, a 4-0 Chicago loss, and likely won't start Monday's game against the Mariners, manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. According to WSCR.com, he is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday and bat leadoff.
The Cubs want to ease Zobrist back into the game after he missed so much time. A career .266/.356/.426 hitter capable of playing several positions, he batted just .189 in his minor-league rehab stint following the long layoff.