The day off Sunday did not cool off Javier Baez at the plate. Baez went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, two RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in Iowa’s 9-0 victory over Fresno at Principal Park.
Javier Baez smacked a two-out, two-run homer to center off former teammate Dan Straily in the fourth inning and did not strikeout in five plate appearances. Baez doubled to right and singled to center.
And Baez played third base for the first time since returning from the disabled list. The Cubs wanted Baez to see time at second and third base along with shortstop before he was recalled.
Over his last 22 games, Baez is 31-for-94 with five doubles, two triples and two home runs (.330/.379/.521) for a .900 OPS. Baez has walked eight times with 23 strikeouts. During the nine-game hitting streak, Baez has nine strikeouts and three walks.
Since returning from the DL, Baez is batting .315/.379/.550 with seven doubles, two triples and five home runs for a .929 OPS (10 walks, 30 strikeouts in 111 at bats over 26 games).
The Cubs are expected to call-up Javier Baez when the roster expands next Tuesday. Joe Maddon fielded questions about Baez on Monday after Jorge Soler was placed on the disabled list.
Maddon acknowledged Baez is “doing really well” and said, “The plan with him is just to continue to do well. Just because a guy starts doing well does not mean he has to be called up immediately. He’s still learning his craft. I’m hearing he’s getting better with his swing and his approach in his at-bats, which is all good.”
Manny Ramirez spent time with Baez prior to Monday’s game. And Brian Harper was pleased with his performance. Harper has seen a real commitment from Baez to cut down on his swing “and lessen some of the movement with his lower and upper half.” He explained to MiLB.com that Baez used the advice Harper and Ramirez gave him and applied it during his plate appearances Monday night.
When Javier Baez is recalled he is expected to see time at second, third and shortstop. If Baez can apply the adjustments he’s worked on in the minors this year, Joe Maddon will be able to use Baez at multiple positions to keep players fresh over the last month of the season.