For Pete's Sake

Ben Zobrist returns to the Cubs after taking time to ‘keep my family together’

The Cubs got a potential boost for their playoff push, adding a three-time All-Star on Sunday.

Ben Zobrist returned to the Cubs after taking a leave of absence when he and his wife, Julianna, each filed for divorce. Zobrist hasn’t played since May 6.

“I knew, at that moment, there was no way I could be here and be focused while I was here,” Zobrist told MLB.com. “I didn’t want to give half-effort while I was here and think about where my head and heart really were. 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 (I) 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.”

This is the final season of a four-year contract Zobrist, 38, signed with the Cubs after he helped the Royals win the 2015 World Series. But he hasn’t made a decision about his playing future.

“I don’t think I have anything I need to prove personally with my career or to anybody else,” Zobrist told NBC Sports Chicago. “My priorities have always been the same; they’ve been very consistent in my whole career. My faith is important, my family is important and my career comes after those two things. I took time away that I needed to take personally for my family and I feel good about that. I don’t regret any of that.”

As for his relationship with Julianna, Zobrist told the Chicago Tribune he is trying for reconciliation.

“This career is an incredible career,” Zobrist told the Tribune. “I love this career. But that’s the reason why I took time off, to see what I could do there. To see what I could do taking care of my kids and making sure that they were OK going through this scenario. And yeah that’s my hope and prayer.”

Zobrist wouldn’t say whether he was making progress toward that goal.

“All I can say is one way or the other, nothing has gone any further,” Zobrist told the Tribune. “There’s no legal action or anything like that happening right now, but a period of stability and patience is where we’re at.”

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