Baez Bashes Despite Sore Back, Arrieta Rehabs for a Second Time and Cubs News and Notes

Javier Baez hit a two-run home run on Thursday then told the Des Moines Register after the game that he is “dealing with some minor backs issues.” Baez said Marty Pevey was going to keep him out of the lineup but he “insisted on playing.”

Baez said the soreness in his back is from “is big swing.” Baez added “that it’s happened before” and described the soreness as “nothing major, just a little uncomfortable.”

After a slow start to the season, an ejection and a dugout altercation with Eli Whiteside, Javier Baez is starting to hit (3-for-8 with a double and a home run in last two games) and contributed his recent to success to patience. Baez told the Des Moines Register, “Just being more patient. I think these last two games I’ve been patient and I’ve been getting more pitches and seeing more pitches.”

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta completed his second rehab start Thursday. Arrieta started for the Smokies and went 3 2/3 innings. Arrieta got his work in and remains on schedule to be added to the rotation toward the end of the month.

Arrieta threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes. Arrieta did not allow any runs and gave up only three singles while issuing two walks and striking out four batters.

Darwin Barney

Gordon Wittenmyer caught up with Darwin Barney before Thursday’s finale with the Pirates. Barney was out of the starting lineup, again, and admitted to Wittenmyer that “obviously it’s not the same.”

As Wittenmyer pointed out, Barney had a good spring and changed his approach at the plate from a year ago. And while he has not hit that much, he is taking his walks. Barney knows because of his awful season at the plate a year ago, he has to show the Cubs that was not him and continue to work in order to get more playing time.

The Cubs reportedly listened to offers for Barney over the winter but the front office did not move him. And two weeks into the season, Barney is trying to find playing time while he remains one of the players that could be traded this summer.

Darwin Barney would be a good fit on a contending team and according to the Sun-Times, he could be “one of at least seven players who could be on the trading block by July.”

Darwin Barney would like to stay in Chicago and help the Cubs win.

Wesley Wright

The Cubs insist nothing is wrong with Wesley Wright. The Cubs other lefty reliever has not pitched since April 4 while James Russell has pitched in six of the Cubs first nine games. Wright and Russell have both struggled when called upon this season.

Wright has appeared in two games (3 1/3 innings) and has allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts (5.40 ERA, 2.10 WHIP). Russell took the loss Thursday after serving up the three-run shot to Pedro Alvarez. In six appearances (2 2/3 innings), Russell has allowed two runs on three hits with five walks and four strikeouts (6.75 ERA, 2.63 WHIP).

The Cubs obviously view Wright as more than a LOOGY. But with all the team made about Russell’s overuse the last two seasons before he was basically shutdown last September, not using Wright when the situation calls for it is rather puzzling.

Wrigley Field

WGN-TV’s special, “Wrigley 100: A Century Celebration” airs on April 20 at 7:00pm.

News and Notes

Emilio Bonifacio has been one of the big stories for the Cubs over the first nine games of the season … and his teammates have marveled at his start to the year according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

The way the Yankees rotation is lined up, the Cubs will face Masahiro Tanaka during their upcoming trip to the Bronx (April 15-16).

Ryan Dempster was at Wrigley and watched Thursday’s Cubs-Pirates game from the bleachers.

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