Morning Marquee: Javier Baez returned in first wave of September call-ups
By David Miniel
The final month of the regular season started off with a win for the Chicago Cubs after rookie Kyle Schwarber launched a 432 ft. two-run bomb to left-center field to lift his club past the visiting Cincinnati Reds by the final score of 5-4.
Not only did we see the debut of the recently acquired outfielder, Austin Jackson, but a familiar face who was a part of last year’s prospect takeover, Javier Baez. Baez was optioned to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs just before Spring Training ended in order for him to make a few adjustments in the batter’s box.
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While his defense wasn’t all that bad, the fact that he struck out a lot eventually became a problem. He spent some time with new hitting coach John Mallee over the winter in hopes of fixing a few things before returning to big league camp in March.
Aside from his adjustments, Javier suffered the loss of his sister who was only a year younger than he was. The two had a strong bond and it resulted in him leaving the minor league affiliate for quite some time.
It was definitely a sad time for Baez and his family, but he eventually found himself back in action. Just when he was getting back to work, the young infielder suffered a broken finger which set him back eight weeks.
Once he was able to return, things started to look somewhat better for the 22-year-old. In 70 games with the Iowa Cubs, he struck out 76 while hitting 13 homers, driving in 62 RBI and slashing .324/.385/.526 with an OPS of .917.
Javier left Iowa with a whopping 16 game hitting streak that dates back to August 15th and had two big flies with 14 RBI during that stretch. Rather impressive if you ask me.
Last night, he finished the game 0-for-4 with only one strikeout and flied out to deep right field later on. Skipper Joe Maddon gave him the start at second base after Starlin Castro had himself a three-error night on Monday and flipped him over to shortstop to replace Addison Russell.
Expect him to be back in the lineup this afternoon when Jason Hammel takes the mound with the chance to claim the series. Chicago’s win came at a great time as the Pittsburgh Pirates lost Milwaukee and the San Francisco Giants were defeated by the Dodgers which gives them another six-game lead over the defending champions.
Here’s more from around the league:
‘Austin Jackson is exactly what this club needs with Soler out‘ – Cubbies Crib
‘Cubs’ Addison Russell has surged during the second half‘ – Cubbies Crib
‘Colorado Rockies lose both ends of doubleheader; Bullpen causes 5-3 loss‘ – Rox Pile
‘KC Royals Johnny Cueto struggles again in 6-5 loss‘ – Kings of Kauffman
‘Mariners Game Recap: M’s even series with the Astros‘ – SoDo MoJo