PHOENIX >> Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber is out for the season after tearing two knee ligaments in an outfield collision, a major setback for a team that many picked to win the World Series.
The Cubs made the startling announcement Friday, a day after the 23-year-old Schwarber was injured in a game at Arizona. An MRI revealed the injuries to his left knee and a sprained ankle. There was no immediate word on possible surgery.
A catcher by trade, Schwarber made his major league debut last year. He then broke loose by hitting a franchise-record five home runs in nine postseason games.
"He's going to be missed. I mean there's no sugarcoating. We love the guy. It's a sad day here in our locker room," Cubs catcher David Ross said.
"Freak things happen. You've got to move on. The game doesn't wait around. He doesn't want us to dwell," he said.
Schwarber was expected to produce plenty of power for a Cubs team that was a leading contender to win its first World Series championship since 1908. The Cubs were 3-0 this season going into Friday night's game against the Diamondbacks.
Schwarber was playing left field when he was hurt. He collided with center fielder Dexter Fowler and tumbled on a ball that became an inside-the-park home run for Jean Segura.
The overall fourth pick in the 2014 draft and Chicago's backup catcher, Schwarber stayed on the ground for several minutes before being helped to his feet and driven off the field in a cart.
Schwarber hit .246 with 16 homers and 43 RBIs in 69 games for the Cubs last season.
"He's one of those guys that plays hard every day. That's why he got hurt because of the type of player he is," Ross said. "That's what we expect out of our teammates. We expect you to go out and sacrifice for the team. That's what he did."
Infielder Munenori Kawasaki was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take Schwarber's roster spot.