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The Chicago Cubs are recalling David Bote after nearly two years

David Bote admits he wasn’t sure if he would play in a major league game again.

But after Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey called Bote into his Louisville office Saturday to tell him he had put on a show, Bote happily began packing.

Then the fun really began for the 31-year-old outfielder, who last played in the majors in 2022.

“I was packing up in the locker room and the guys were like, ‘What are you doing?’ I said “I’m going upstairs”.

“This was the moment that moved me. Every one of those guys was yelling and screaming. They gave me big hugs. It’s just a moment I’ll never forget.”

Bote was in the starting lineup for the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, batting eighth and playing third. He drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in a 5–2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds before an announced crowd of 38,129 at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs (29-31) fell to 7 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. They couldn’t keep the momentum going from Saturday’s 7-5 win over the Reds in a game that ended after midnight on Sunday due to a rain delay.

The Cubs have lost nine of their last 12 games heading into a two-game home series against the White Sox starting Tuesday. Battling at the plate has been a problem for the team.

Baseball fans watch during the sixth inning of a baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Baseball fans watch during the sixth inning of a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By bringing in Bote and optioning infielder Nick Madrigal to Iowa, manager Craig Counsell hopes to have a little more pop in the lineup.

“I always thought David was a solid baseball IQ player,” Counsell said. “He hits the ball really hard and that’s important in attack – especially today.

“He has the ability to do damage in this park and the time of year we’re coming in, that’s a big thing for us to be able to do. I’m asking him to hit home runs, and that’s a tough ask.”

Madrigal hit .221 in 51 games – 30 off the bench.

“There’s a better version of Nick,” Counsell said. “Look, you’re cast in a role and you’re a part-time player. You’re ready for the defensive replacement facing the late inning relievers. Playing with moderation is a difficult role to play in the big leagues. But it is also one that is valuable and important.

“We think Nick can do it and do it well.”

Bote had dramatic winning and tying strikes to become a fan favorite in 2018 and 2019, but was plagued by injuries in subsequent seasons before being sent off on August 4, 2022. He is looking forward to a second chance.

“I’m a different person than I was four or five years ago,” Bote said. “I’m grateful for that. I learned a lot. I have the chance to do things differently with the same organization. That doesn’t happen very often.

“These guys are studs and I can’t wait to play with them.”

Bote tried to remain optimistic even in some difficult moments.

“Don’t feel sorry for yourself,” he said. “Nobody else is going to feel sorry for you. I know what I’m capable of.

“Sometimes I have to fool myself. I’m not perfect at this. I beat myself up in my sadness and it sucks. But I try not to let anyone else see it. I try to do it in a private setting or whatever is a safe place. But then I’m with my mates and my boys, I’m like ‘let’s go!’”