Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’
Cubs manager Rick Renteria wasn’t surprised that Javier Baez’s left ankle hurt when he fouled a ball off it.
“I was saying to him, ‘If the ball came off the bat like a normal human being’s ball comes off the bat, you would’ve been OK,’” Renteria said Thursday, “‘But since yours comes off like a bullet train, I would’ve gone down, too.’”
Baez lay on the ground for a few seconds, but stayed in the game. In his next at-bat, he hit an opposite field home run. Guess he was feeling OK.
“That was a great at-bat,” Renteria said of the home run in the Cubs’ loss to the Rockies. “Once he got to two strikes, the approach is significantly important. Most times, guys like Javy still want to drive the ball, but he’s capable of driving the ball to any part of the ballpark.”
It’s all part of the development process for Baez, who will open the 2014 season at shortstop for Triple-A Iowa. He’s been working at second and third as well in early sessions with coach Gary Jones, and Renteria said they will start Baez in a game at one of those positions soon.
The Cubs’ top prosect, Baez has been the center of attention this spring.
“It’s great, great for Javy, great for the Cubs,” Renteria said. “He’s an exciting player, as you guys all have seen. it’s not like you can hide it.”
And he does hit the ball hard, which is why Renteria cringed a little when he saw Baez on the ground after the foul ball.
“When he went down, I didn’t know if it was his foot, or shin,” Renteria said. “I just know the ball comes off his bat hot and it must have hurt wherever it hit.”
– Carrie Muskat
Javier Baez and George Kottaras hit back to back home runs for the Cubs but the Rockies took advantage of a throwing error by Christian Villanueva to post a 7-5 win on Wednesday in front of 10,598 at Cubs Park. Ironically, the Rockies made five errors in the game.
With the game tied at 3 in the seventh, the Rockies loaded the bases with two outs against Chris Rusin on a single and two walks. The lefty was lifted for Minor Leaguer Ryan Searle, and Rosell Herrera greeted him with a two-run single. Villanueva threw the ball into shallow right trying to get Herrera at second, and two more runs scored on the miscue.
Chicago loaded the bases in the seventh and scored on an infield single by Aaron Cunningham and a wild pitch by Kraig Sitton.
Charlie Blackmon tripled to open the game and scored one out later on Carlos Gonzalez’s groundout. It was a tough inning for Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, who took a liner by Michael Cuddyer off his leg.
“I’m pretty used to these comebacker, get drilled kind of things,” Samardzija said. “It happened a few times last year. It’s part of pitching. Protect the vital organs and hopefully [the ball] stops close to you and you can get the guy out.”
Ryan Kalish reached on a throwing error by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to lead off the Chicago first, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch by Tyler Chatwood and scored on a throwing error by catcher Mike McKenry to tie the game.
The Rockies loaded the bases with one out in the third, and Samardizja walked Gonzalez to force in a run. Tulowitzki followed with a sacrifice fly to go ahead, 3-1. Samardzija exited after giving up three runs on four hits over three innings.
The Cubs cringed in the third when Baez, their top prospect, fouled a ball off his left ankle, and fell to the ground. He lay there a few seconds, and after getting checked by an athletic trainer and manager Rick Renteria, stayed in the game. Baez looked just fine in the sixth when he hit an opposite field home run, his second this spring. Kottaras followed with his first blast to tie the game at 3.
* Travis Wood makes his first Cactus League start on Thursday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to face the Indians. Wood’s first outing was washed out because of rain and he ended up throwing two innings of a simulated game under cover. The lefty is coming off his first season of 200 innings. Darwin Barney will make his first spring start at shortstop as the Cubs try to make the most of Starlin Castro being sidelined with a hamstring injury. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
Starlin Castro will be sidelined seven to 10 days because of a mild right hamstring strain that should not hinder the shortstop from being ready for the regular season, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday.
“From what we gathered, it’s similar to what happened to him last year at this time,” Renteria said of Castro’s injury, suffered in the first inning Sunday when he tried to steal second. “It’s seven to 10 days and we’re just being cautious with him. It shouldn’t set him back for the regular season.”
Castro was sidelined for two weeks last spring with a sore left hamstring. After Sunday’s game, he said the injury suffered on Sunday was “not too bad like last year” and that the team removed him as a precautionary measure. A year ago, Castro could barely walk after he was hurt.
“This doesn’t seem to be anything like last year to the degree that it was,” Renteria said. “He’s walking around pretty good now.”
The Cubs will give Emilio Bonifacio and Darwin Barney more starts at shortstop while Castro heals and also look at top prospect Javier Baez. They also have infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez in camp.
“What it allows us to do is see other guys at that position and recognize if Barney can go over there and [Bonifacio],” Renteria said. “It’ll give guys playing time.”
Castro spent more time this offseason on conditioning and reported to camp in good shape. The Cubs sent strength coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic for three weeks to work with the shortstop, who also spent four weeks at a training facility in Bradenton, Fla. Castro is coming off a season in which he batted a career-low .245.
– Carrie Muskat
Last spring, Starlin Castro missed two weeks because of a sore left hamstring and amped up his offseason workouts to report in better shape. But on Sunday, in his second spring at-bat, the Cubs shortstop had to leave the game because of a mild right hamstring strain. Castro was hit by a pitch with one out in the first by the Royals’ Wade Davis, and then thrown out trying to steal second. He walked gingerly off the field and was lifted defensively.
“It’s not too bad like last year,” Castro said. “We don’t want to take a chance. It’s early right now. You take a couple days to get better.”
Last year, Castro was sidelined from Feb. 27-March 13. He said the pain on Sunday wasn’t as severe.
“Last year, I couldn’t walk [after he was hurt] and now I can walk normal,” Castro said. “[Athletic trainer PJ Mainville] stretched it out and I feel better.
“I don’t want to rush,” he said. “I want to take time to get better. I think I’ll be better.”
Castro was in better shape this spring. The Cubs sent strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic for three weeks and Castro trained for another four weeks at a complex in Brandenton, Fla.
“A little bit [frustrating],” Castro said. “I feel so good when I work, I’m working hard every day. I feel 100 percent every day and this thing happens now.”
Javier Baez took over at shortstop on Sunday, and went 2-for-3. Castro and the Cubs’ top prospect chatted as Baez was leaving the facility.
“He’s not down,” Baez said of Castro. “He’s taking it easy. It’s only Spring Training. He wants to take care of his body.”
– Carrie Muskat
It was one inning in the Cubs’ second Cactus League game, but Friday’s seventh was a sign of things to come. Kris Bryant belted a two-run homer in his first spring at-bat, driving in Albert Almora, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Cubs lost, 15-3, to the Angels.
All of the so-called core four of Almora, Bryant, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez had at-bats in the seventh. Arismendy Alcantara, another highly touted prospect, popped up to lead off the inning, and Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2012, then doubled. Soler struck out and Bryant followed with a lengthy at-bat that resulted in a 420-foot shot just left of the batter’s eye off a 3-2 slider from the Angels’ Jarrett Grube.
Brett Jackson, another Cubs’ No. 1 pick, walked and Baez, a first-round selection in 2011, lined out sharply to third base to end the inning.
“It was kind of cool — Albert got on with a double, Jorge, he had some good swings, and then I drove in Albert,” Bryant said. “Hopefully, we can do that a lot in the future.”
The Cubs certainly hope so.
Bryant’s career has been on the fast track since the third baseman was selected second overall in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. After he signed with the Cubs, Bryant played two games with the Rookie League team, then was bumped up to short-season Boise for 18 games. His debut there wasn’t nearly as impressive as he struck out in all five at-bats. But Bryant batted .354 and was promoted to high Class A Daytona, where he hit .333 in 16 games with five home runs and five doubles plus 14 RBIs.
And he wasn’t done. The winner of the Golden Spikes award as the top college baseball player of the year, Bryant, 22, played in the Arizona Fall League, and batted .364 with six more home runs, eight doubles and 17 RBIs.
He may be familiar with playing in the desert but this is his first big league camp, and the seventh inning was his first at-bat.
“I felt good up there, I was not nervous at all, and saw a lot of pitches, which was good,” Bryant said. “Home runs don’t mean anything if you don’t win the game, so that’s a little disappointing. For myself, it was a good performance.”
Cubs fans will see a lot of Bryant, Almora, Soler and Baez this spring as new manager Rick Renteria takes advantage of the Cactus League games to gauge the talent in the system. All are projected to open the season in the Minor Leagues. All have seemed very much at home in big league camp.
“It was a good first at-bat, and all the nerves are gone now,” Bryant said.
How can he be so calm?
“It’s just a game,” he said. “You’ve got to go out there and have fun and don’t put pressure on yourself and put a smile on your face and good things usually come from that.”
It worked at San Diego, where he led the nation with 31 home runs.
“I’ve just been blessed with power,” Bryant said. “I’m putting it to use. Hopefully, I can go out there tomorrow and give it all I’ve got and hopefully get a win.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs will face Albert Pujols and the Angels on Friday in Tempe. Chris Rusin gets the start, his first this spring. James McDonald is scheduled to pitch, which will be big for the right-hander. He struggled with shoulder problems last season. Plus, fans can see top prospect Javy Baez. He’s scheduled to start at short. If you aren’t going to the game, you can listen on WGN Radio to Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer, or tune in to a webcast on Cubs.com. Here’s the Cubs’ lineup:
We weren’t kidding about Javy Baez’s home run breaking someone’s car window. Here’s proof, thanks to Grant Smith (@gbsmith84), who tweeted a photo of the damage:
“My car was one that got hit. Didn’t even get the ball either
Baez responded on Twitter: “Sorry about the window. i will pay it if i have to. But just don’t park there again. Lol”
The Cubs need a few more signs at their new Spring Training facility to warn fans of Javier Baez’s power. Baez apparently broke a car window with one of his batting practice home runs on Friday.
“I saw it fly and I heard a sound,” said infielder Logan Watkins, who was in the outfield during batting practice.
What did he hear?
“Glass,” Watkins said.
“Somebody told me, but I didn’t know that,” Baez said about the freak accident. “It [stinks] for the person who parked there.”
This is the Cubs’ first spring at the new facility in west Mesa, and there are a few glitches.
“They’re parking too close to the field,” Baez said.
It’s not just Baez either. Jorge Soler launched a ball out of Field 5 as well. Maybe they need more screens? Or park further away?
“[At least] not until Group 1 is done hitting,” Watkins said. “Mike Olt hit a couple far out there, too.”
Home runs are not unusual for Baez, 21, who belted 37 combined at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last season. This is Baez’s second year in the big league spring camp and he said it’s a little easier.
“I’m trying to follow all the big guys,” the shortstop said.
Starlin Castro has been encouraging Baez, who is challenging for Castro’s job.
“[Castro] tells me all the time, ‘You’re going to get there whenever they think I’m ready,’” Baez said. “We’re just waiting now.”
Third baseman Christian Villanueva, who also was in the outfield during the batting practice session, gave Baez an animated description of what happened in Spanish.
“It was impressive,” Villanueva said. “I think he hit two cars. Some family was getting into the car and they heard the noise. They’re like, ‘Who’s hitting?’”
Baez didn’t know what happened.
“He doesn’t even care,” Watkins said. “He’s like, ‘Oh, cool.’ It’s not cool for whoever’s car it was.
“That’s a fun group to watch hit,” Watkins said. “They were making that field look real small. I get in trouble if I try to do that because that’s not really my game. Last round, I try to put one over [the fence] at least. He can do it every round if he wants. I don’t think anyone’s going to say that’s not your game because it obviously is.”
– Carrie Muskat