Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’

2/27 Riz on Lester: “He’s a horse”

Javier Baez had to face Jon Lester twice during the Cubs left-hander’s first live batting practice session on Friday. That was enough.

“I told him right after live BP, I prefer to play defense for you,” Baez said.

The Cubs’ $155 million pitcher was paired on Field 5 with catcher David Ross, who was Lester’s personal catcher with the Red Sox. Ross offered plenty of feedback, shouting, “that a boy, Jonny,” and “very nice” more than a few times.

“I can absolutely see why Jon loves to throw to him, and you can see how David can bring out the best in Jon — it’s just obvious,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They’re on the same frequency. There’s a tremendous amount of trust there. You can’t get any more trust than the both of them have.”

Anthony Rizzo hit two balls deep to left off Lester, but reminded everyone that it was practice.

“He’s a horse up there,” Rizzo said of Lester. “It’s nice to see someone like that — you face them early and hopefully everything else looks a little easier. The biggest thing is he felt good. Talking to him after, it’s good to hear. It’s an exciting stepping stone.”

The Cubs have yet to announce the Cactus League pitching schedule and when Lester will start. Games begin Thursday in Arizona.

— Carrie Muskat

1/29 Baez won’t play in Series

Javier Baez will not play in the Caribbean Series, although the Cubs infielder apparently wanted to play. Baez was playing for Santurce, which won the Puerto Rican winter league championship. According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, Baez will not continue in the Caribbean Series, which begins Monday in Puerto Rico. Sources told Sanchez that Baez wanted to play but the Cubs shut him down. Position players are scheduled to report to Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 24.

In 15 playoff games with Santurce, Baez batted .203 (13-for-64) with two doubles, four RBIs, and four walks. He struck out 18 times. Santurce, which is managed by former big leaguer Eduardo Perez, advanced by beating Mayaguez, 4-2, in the best-of-seven Puerto Rican championship series.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who is friends with Perez, watched Baez play Saturday and Sunday in Puerto Rico.

— Carrie Muskat

1/28 Winter league update

* Santurce won the Puerto Rico championship series with a 5-3 win Tuesday night over Mayaguez. Javier Baez went 0-for-4 for Santurce, which won the best-of-seven series, 4-2, and now qualifies for the Caribbean series, scheduled to begin Feb. 2.

* Junior Lake had two hits, including a two-run homer in the eighth, in Estrellas’ 12-5 loss to Gigantes Tuesday in the Dominican League championship series. Gigantes won the best of nine series, 5-3, and advances to the Caribbean Series.

1/26 Winter league update

* Javier Baez was 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI, a walk and struck out once in Santurce’s 9-1 win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship. Baez hit a RBI single in the second, and hit a double and scored a run in the eighth. He was intentionally walked in the ninth with one out and runners at second and third. Santurce now leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2. Game 6 was scheduled for Tuesday.

* Junior Lake went 2-for-4, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth, in Estrellas’ 12-5 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican Republic championship series.

1/25 Maddon: “I want to see him smile”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in Puerto Rico this weekend to watch Javier Baez play in the championship series with Santurce. What was he looking for? Maddon told the young infielder he wanted to “see him smile.”

“My purpose is to see Javier Baez play,” Maddon told El Nuevo Dia on Saturday. “Being a new member of the Cubs organiation, being the manager and Javier being such a big part of our future, I thought it was important to come down and show support and start building that kind of relationship so he could trust me, also. From my perspective, the most important thing I have to do in Spring Training is earn the trust of all of our players.”

Baez, who batted .169 in 52 games with the Cubs last season, hitting nine home runs but also striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats, started playing for Santurce on Dec. 11. In the round robin playoffs, he did deliver a walk-off RBI single in the 10th on Jan. 12, but in the first two championship games, he was 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.

“He’s trying way too hard,” Maddon said. “I want him to back off. The last thing I want him to do is try to impress me tonight. … I said, ‘Hit a couple singles and above all, I want to see you smile.'”

On Saturday, Baez went 1-for-4 and scored a run in Santurce’s 6-0 win over Mayaguez. The best-of-seven series is now tied at 2-2, and Game 5 was scheduled for Sunday at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Baez, 22, told El Nuevo Dia he was impressed that Maddon would come visit him in Puerto Rico. Maddon has talked to Santurce manager Eduardo Perez about Baez as well.

— Carrie Muskat

1/24 Winter league update

* Junior Lake was 1-for-2 with an RBI in Estrellas’ 2-1 win over Gigantes Saturday night in the Dominican championship series. Gigantes leads the best-of-nine game series, 4-3. Game 8 will be played Sunday.

* Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in Puerto Rico Saturday night to see Javier Baez go 1-for-4 and score a run in Santurce’s 6-0 win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship series. The best-of-seven series is now tied at 2-2, and Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday.

1/22 Winter league update

* Junior Lake hit a solo homer in the fifth in Estrellas’ 5-1 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican Republic playoffs. Gigantes now leads the best-of-nine series, 3-2. Game 6 will be Friday.

* Javier Baez went 0-for-5 in Santurce’s 3-2, 14-inning win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico championship series. Baez was intentionally walked in the 14th with two outs and two on to set up a walk-off walk. The best of seven series is tied at one win apiece, and Game 3 will be Friday.

* In Venezuela, Wilson Conteras and Rubi Silva were a combined 0-for-7 in Aragua’s 6-1 win over Zulia. Aragua (7-8) plays La Guaira (5-10) on Thursday.

1/20 Winter ball update

* Junior Lake was 1-for-4 with a triple, but it wasn’t enough as Estrellas lost, 4-0, to Gigantes in the third game of the best of nine championship series in the Dominican Republic. Estrellas leads the series, 2-1. Lake now is 1-for-7 in the series.

* Santurce faces Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship, with the best of seven series beginning Tuesday. Javier Baez was expected to rejoin Santurce and play in this series.

1/17 Cubs Convention notes

Some highlights from the Cubs Convention seminars:

* Javier Baez is headed back to Puerto Rico to continue to play for Santurce, most likely through the playoffs. GM Jed Hoyer says Baez is well aware he has to make adjustments.

“He has to earn his playing time,” Hoyer said of the 21-year-old infielder. “He knows he has to make more contact to stay in the big leagues.”

* The Cubs pitching staff actually did well last season but the offense struggled. The Cubs ranked 12th in the National League in runs scored, ahead of only the Reds, Braves and Padres; 13th in on-base percentage; and 14th in batting average with runners in scoring position (.223). Where will the runs come from in 2015? Theo Epstein says he’s counting on better performances from Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara and Luis Valbuena, plus feels they will get more production from the catching position with the addition of Miguel Montero. What about Kris Bryant? Epstein said Bryant definitely is expected to be in the lineup in 2015.

“When it’s the right time for Kris’ development and the right time for the team, he’ll be on the roster,” Epstein said.

* The Cubs may open the season with three catchers: Montero, David Ross and Welington Castillo. The Cubs added Ross because they felt he was too good a player and person in the clubhouse to pass on, Hoyer said.

* Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was asked about Sammy Sosa and whether the team can reconcile with the former right fielder.

“I don’t want to get into Sammy,” Ricketts said. “There will be a time and a place for it, and we’ll wait for that time and place.”

* Jon Lester’s ability to pitch at Fenway Park will help him at Wrigley Field, Epstein said. Lester would pitch at Fenway in ways that were counter to the type of pitcher he is, and that was because of the way the ballpark is built.

“We all know Wrigley plays two different ways,” Epstein said. “When the wind is howling in and it’s April, and it’s really hard to hit the ball out of the ballpark, he’ll go right at guys and be extremely efficient. He has the power and the mix to be able to do that. On the days when [the wind] is howling out, he can change things up and work his two-seamer a little more, change speeds a little more often and keep hitters off balance. For a left-handed pitcher having gone through your whole career basically at Fenway Park, that’s a gauntlet and it forces you to get creative.”

* Someone asked Epstein how he was able to lure Lester to the Cubs.

“Well, $155 million,” Epstein quipped.

— Carrie Muskat

1/13 Winter league update

* Christian Villanueva hit a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the eighth to lift Obregon to a 6-5 victory over Jalisco in the Mexican League semifinals on Monday night. The best-of-seven series is now tied at one win apiece with Game 3 scheduled for Wednesday.

* Javier Baez hit a walkoff RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning to lift Santurce to a 5-4 victory Monday over Caguas in the Puerto Rico round robin playoffs. Baez went 2-for-6 with an RBI, a stolen base, and he scored a run. Santurce (6-2) plays Carolina (3-5) on Tuesday.

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