Epstein: Zobrist could return in 2019

Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said Ben Zobrist could return to the team in 2019.

He's been on the restricted list since May 7 for personal reasons as he goes through a divorce.

"There's been a little definition added to how he hopes this thing might go," Epstein said on Thursday before the Cubs played the Los Angeles Dodgers. "I've been in constant touch with Zobrist. He knows the door is open. I think he's got an idea in mind on how he would like this to go, but his priorities are clear -- that's family first."

Zobrist, 38, and his wife, Julianna, have three children.

A return for Zobrist isn't imminent, however.

"Certainly the door is open and the possibility of a return is there for him later in the season," Epstein said. "We'll see how things evolve. We'd all love to see him back here and he would love to be back. We'll see if that can come to fruition."

Manager Joe Maddon said earlier that he'd welcome Zobrist back but was unsure about the possibility.

"We have to be prepared mentally that he's not going to (be back), but that doesn't mean he's not going to," Maddon said. "It's all honorable on his side, so whatever he decides to do we're definitely going to be on board with. Of course we'd love to have him back, but I have no idea how that's going to play out."

Zobrist, a three-time All-Star in his 14th major league season, is in the final year of a four-year contract with the Cubs. He has appeared in 26 games this season, hitting .241 with 10 RBIs. He is a career .266 hitter.

--Field Level Media