Javier Baez was placed on the bereavement list on April 9 and took a leave of absence from the Iowa Cubs to be with his family after his sister passed away. Baez was very close with his younger sister Noely, who was born with spina bifida. Noely died unexpectedly on April 8 at the age of 21.
The Cubs said two weeks ago that Javier Baez would be given all the time he needed and did not place a timetable on when he would return. The Cubs are not rushing Baez back, as Joe Maddon said Tuesday. When he’s ready, the organization and his teammates will welcome him back.
Joe Maddon was asked about Javier Baez prior to Tuesday’s game. Maddon said he has heard that Baez is getting close to returning.
“I was told he’s getting close to coming back,” Maddon told the beat writers. “From our perspective, we want him to take as much time as he felt was necessary. So I don’t know yet. I know it’s close. I’ve heard that there’s rumblings of him coming back relatively soon. The kid was crushed by the moment. And we all grieve in different manners.”
Marty Pevey has also been asked about Baez. The I-Cubs’ manager hasn’t talked to Baez and as of Monday, had not been given and update on when he would possibly return.
Pevey mentioned Javier Baez would likely have to report to the team’s facility in Mesa in order to play in a few extended Spring Training games before returning to Iowa.
The Cubs have not discussed Baez going to Arizona, according to Mark Gonzales. Maddon thinks it would be a good idea for him to play in some practice games and get his timing back before returning to the Iowa Cubs.
Javier Baez could not hold onto the second base job in Spring Training, even with Joe Maddon pushing for him to break camp with the team. Baez did not make the adjustments at the plate the Cubs wanted to see from him in the spring.
It’s very easy to recognize the talent the 22-year old has both offensively and defensively. Baez has off the charts power and he started showing signs of things clicking in during Spring Training.
Javier Baez played in 52 games for the Cubs last season. Baez hit only .169/.227/.324 with six doubles and nine home runs for a .551 OPS. Baez struck out 95 times with 15 walks. Baez was 10-for-55 in 17 games with one home run in the Cactus League (.182/.237/.236) with three walks and 22 strikeouts.
The front office will put the right people around Javier Baez when he’s ready to return. The organization knows how close he was to his sister and what his family means to him. Once Baez is ready to resume his career, the Cubs should have Manny Ramirez spend a lot of time with him. Baez looks up to Ramirez and has responded to him like many of the young players in the Cubs’ system.
According to Patrick Mooney, the Cubs think when he returns the game he loves will become a sanctuary for him during this time.