Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been medically cleared to begin hitting for the first time all season. He will join the Mesa Solar Sox, a Chicago Cubs affiliate, for a rehab assignment beginning Saturday with an eye towards the World Series.

Schwarber's injury

Just two games into the 2016 season, Schwarber collided with fellow outfielder Dexter Fowler while going for a catch, leaving both players squirming in the outfield. Fowler managed to avoid serious injury, but Schwarber did not, suffering a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee, requiring season-ending surgery.

Schwarber was considered an indispensable player at the start of the season.

A first-round draft pick in 2014, Schwarber came on strong during the 2015 season, smacking 16 home runs despite playing less than half the regular season, switching between the outfield and catching duties.

In the postseason, Schwarber made his mark, going on a historic tear at the plate. In Game 4 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Schwarber hit a memorable home run that landed on top of the new scoreboard at Wrigley Field; the ball was encased in glass in the same position for the remainder of the postseason. He finished the playoffs with five home runs, the most by a player 22 years old or younger in MLB history.

Cubs playoff hopes

Schwarber would only be able to potentially return in the World Series, which the Cubs have yet to advance to.

They have a 3-2 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, with a game on Saturday night and Sunday, if necessary. The Cubs face two challenging pitchers in these two games in Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, but they do have the advantage of being at home.

If the Cubs advance, they would play the Cleveland Indians, who have home field advantage in the World Series by virtue of the American League's win in the All-Star Game.

Since the American League and National League have two different sets of rules, the Cubs will have to play four games with a designated hitter, which would be a great position for Schwarber since he wouldn't have to play in the field.

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