Ben Zobrist has returned to the Chicago Cubs after four months away from baseball.
The 38-year-old outfielder stepped away from the game on May 8 in order to be with his children at his Nashville home while going through a divorce.
“I didn’t want to give half-effort while I was here and think about where my head and heart really were,” Zobrist told reporters at a news conference Sunday. “So I knew for a period of time I needed to fully put myself back in Nashville, back 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 I feel that in my heart while I’m here at the field can put 100 percent into it and I can really get after it with my teammates. I’m looking forward to that push right here down the stretch.”
Zobrist files for divorce
Zobrist filed a complaint for legal separation from his wife, Julianna, in Williamson County in May.
The couple have been married since 2005 and have owned a home in Williamson County for 12 years.
The three-page filing said his wife “has been guilty of inappropriate marital conduct which render further cohabitation impossible.”
“Husband is unsure if the marriage can be salvaged,” the filing said.
On the same day her husband filed for legal separation, Julianna Zobrist also filed for divorce in Cook County, Illinois.
Two weeks later Julianna Zobrist posted a lenthy message on Instagram saying, “Someday I will share my story with you…but not today.” She did not directly mention the divorce.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon praised the organization for letting Ben Zobrist take time off for his family.
“We play a game,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “This is about Zo and his family and his kids. So I think the way we handled it was perfectly right. And I’d like to believe we’d permit that latitude to other people, too, if in fact the person demonstrates those kind of feelings.
“He’s the one that precipitated how he felt and what he wanted to do. And I think it was perfect,” Maddon said.
Zobrist, a three-time all star and 2016 World Series MVP with the Cubs, returns to help Chicago in the final month of the MLB season. As of Tuesday, the Cubs hold the final Wild Card spot in their push to make the postseason.
Elaina Sauber contributed to this report.
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