Ejection leads to learning experience for Baez
CHICAGO -- The development of Javier Baez continued this past weekend, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the team's top prospect got an important lesson, thanks to his teammates.
Baez was hitless in his first nine at-bats at Triple-A Iowa and ejected from Saturday's game after arguing a checked swing third-strike call. He reportedly exchanged words and had an altercation in the dugout with teammate Eli Whiteside.
"He had a nice conversation with a teammate and that was a good thing," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. "It's a tremendously great learning experience."
Baez ended his hitless streak in style Sunday with a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning.
"I think it was a great development and experience for him," Epstein said. "He started out not feeling real comfortable at the plate and he let it frustrate him, and he showed it on the field. His teammates, they know how good he can be and how good a teammate he can be and they called him out on it.
"He responded just the right way and took it to heart and came back the next day with a pinch-hit home run," Epstein said. "He's hit the ball hard in five straight plate appearances. He's taking the responsibility of being a good teammate and taking it to heart. Experiences like that will just help him get where he needs to be."
And this is part of the process Baez, 21, has to go through in the Minor Leagues.
"You want that stuff to happen down there," Epstein said. "It helps our players mature, so when they get up here, they can handle a broader set of experiences that are thrown at them."
Baez had struck out six times in his first nine at-bats. The Cubs know he won't get a hit every at-bat when he does get to the big leagues.
"It's more important how players respond to adversity," Epstein said. "You want everyone to go through adversity in the Minor Leagues, because it's important for them to learn how to deal with failure and make adjustments and come back even stronger, because that's the type of thing you have to deal with when you're breaking in in the big leagues."