Joe Maddon spent the weekend in Puerto Rico watching Javier Baez and to start building a relationship with the young slugger.
Maddon tweeted Saturday night that he was sitting in Eduardo Perez’s office at Hiram Bithorn Stadium prior to the game between Santurce and Mayaguez. Perez is Baez’s manager in Winter Ball. Baez responded with a 1-for-4 night at the plate with a run scored and no strikeouts.
Joe Maddon told the local media, “My purpose is to see Javier Baez play. Being a new member of the Cubs organization, being the manager and Javier is 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.”
Maddon also said Baez is “trying way too hard” and he wants “him to back off.” Maddon did not want to see Baez try to impress his new skipper. Maddon said he would like to see Baez hit a “couple of singles” but more importantly, he wanted to see Javier Baez smile.
Javier Baez told the local media Maddon impressed him traveling to Puerto Rico just to see him play. And that Maddon talks to him like he’s known Baez his entire life.
On Sunday, Javier Baez went 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI, a run scored, a walk and a strikeout in Santurce’s 9-1 victory over Mayaguez. Baez is 3-for-8 with a double, two runs scored, a walk and a strikeout in the last two games.
Javier Baez hit seventh and started at second base Sunday. Baez knocked in the second run of the game with a single to center in the second that plated Ruben Gotay. Baez struck out swinging in the fourth inning and lined out to center in the sixth.
Javier Baez doubled to left in the eighth and scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of Ruben Sosa. Baez was intentionally walked in the ninth inning.
Rob Manfred ruffled some feathers during his first day as Commissioner of Baseball.
Manfred told ESPN he’s considering eliminating defensive shifts in order to increase offense in the game. Manfred used the word ‘injecting’, which was probably a poor choice of words.
Rob Manfred talked to Jerry Crasnick about his top five priorities as he takes charge of baseball: Youth outreach, embracing technology, pace of play, strengthening player relations and a more unified business operation.
- Full Report from Jerry Crasnick
- Full Report from The Score on Defensive Shifts
- ESPN Video
- Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Letter to Fans
According to Nick Cafardo, Bryan LaHair signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox last week. LaHair played one season in Japan and did not perform to expectations after he broke his hand. LaHair spent last year in the Indians organization. LaHair played 101 games at the Double-A level and only ten for Triple-A Columbus. LaHair batted a combined .223/.309/.318 with 19 doubles and five home runs.
Bryan LaHair was named to the All-Star team in 2012. LaHair ended up hitting .259/.334/.450 with 17 doubles and 16 home runs for the Cubs that season.
News, Notes and Rumors
According to Nick Cafardo, despite what David Price is saying publicly it’s believed he will not sign a long-term extension with the Tigers. Price doesn’t want to eliminate a team before he hits free agency, but he is expected to hit the market at the end of the season. And if he does, Price will be high on the Cubs list next winter.
Community research at FanGraphs examined why the Chicago Cubs should keep Starlin Castro.
Bud Selig predicted Major League Baseball could expand internationally.
Former Cubs right-hander Randy Wells is opening a sports training facility in Belleville. And there will be instruction for baseball and softball players in the 5,000 square foot center in Southern Illinois.
Dustin Pedroia said it was definitely tough seeing Jon Lester pick the Cubs over the Red Sox.
According to Kiley McDaniel there is a rumor making the rounds that Brady Aiken will likely join Jacob Nix at IMG.
Jim Bowden posted the teams he thinks are the best fits for the top 10 remaining free agents … spoiler alert, the Cubs are not mentioned in his report.
And last, but not least, Comcast SportsNet’s Patrick Mooney received the Sportswriter of the Year from the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Carlos Villanueva to a two-year contract
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Xavier Nady
1986 – Cubs signed free agent Lary Sorensen
1983 – Ryan Rowland-Smith, born
1978 – Andres Torres, born
1963 – Kevin Blankenship, born
1955 – Edward Van Halen, born
1932 – William Wrigley Jr. passed away at the age of 70. Controlling interest of the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League went to his son, P.K. Wrigley.