3/15 Cubs 7, Japan 5

Team Japan surprised some of the Cubs with their power but in the end, Javier Baez stole the show.

Baez hit a pair of home runs, including a walkoff two-run shot in the ninth, to power the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over Team Japan in an exhibition game Friday. With the game tied at 5, Christian Villanueva doubled to lead off the ninth against Takeru Imamura. Baez then launched the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for the winner.

As Baez was headed to the plate in the ninth inning Friday with the Cubs tied at 5 against Team Japan, he told Welington Castillo, who was on deck, to relax.

“I said, ‘You’re not hitting,'” Baez said.

Castillo didn’t have to. Baez also hit a solo shot in the seventh, which closed the gap to 5-4, and the Cubs tied the game in the eighth on Dan Vogelbach’s RBI single.

The Japanese team may have been a little jet lagged. They arrived in Arizona late Tuesday, and played the Giants on Thursday. The next stop is San Francisco for the semifinal round of the World Baseball Classic.

“It was a real baseball game — it wasn’t really a Spring Training baseball game,” Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk said of the close contest.

Baez, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2011, said the last walkoff home run he could remember came in high school.

“[The first homer,] I was just sitting on a fastball, and he threw me two, and I missed them, and then he threw me a fastball inside,” Baez said. “I was patient at the plate. [In the ninth] with a man on second, I knew he’d throw a slider or a curveball, and he threw me a slider and I hit it hard and hit it over the fence.”

This was Baez’s third spring home run, although the statistics from the exhibition game won’t count in the Cactus League stats.

— Carrie Muskat


Baez—–he da man. This guy’s upside makes me positively giddy.

Is a pity Baez is ticketed for the minors no matter how much he excels in the spring. We Cubs fans are being asked to postpone gratification; is frustrating.

We can only hope to get him up to Wrigley sooner rather than later!!! He is doing GREAT! Does he play 3rd base at all? Hint. Hint.

Watchout!😀 haha

Isabel, Isabel – Oh ye of little faith! Barney is just fine! I know you are teetering on the brink of Baez mania but I’m sticking with Barney. I win! LOL

White, I have good news for yourself. Scouts do not see Baez as a long term shortstop. His defensive skills are a better fit at third. If you do the research, you will see .It’s his offensive skills that are compelling. Scouts speak of his bat speed as ridiculous and lightening quick and compare it at this stage to that of Gary Sheffield and Hanley Ramiriz. Give credit to scout Tom Clark. It was at his recommendation that Cubs selected Baez in 2011 draft.

Thanks for the info jhosk – it would be GREAT to get him up for 3rd! Seems to me that Baez has already proven that he can hit in the bigs and his defense has been stellar. As I recall Castro was called up very quickly from AA when he showed the talent he has. Why not get Baez up as quickly if he has shown such ability so early?

Baez will get his shot… just have to let him develop a little bit more… just like you gotta pick the tomato at the right time or just never maybe quite as good as it could be….. O and here’s your pick of our 3 studs in the Minors…http://boysofspring.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Cubs-vs-Japan-3-15-2013-10.jpg…. Hey Mama how much you think Vogelbach weighs in the pics… HAHAHAH BECAUSE IT AINT OVER 250 you poser!!!!

whats chance Baez making team,what about Vilenuva making team,hows he look

Cubs braintrust has told us Baez will go to minors. Is intelligent thing to do as the young man needs seasoning. He could go to low minors, I’m thinking high A league. However, he certainly has the potential to progress quickly to higher levels.

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