Baez, callups join Cubs along with Jackson
Wada, Berry, Cahill also up from Minors; Russell, Soriano DFA'd
CHICAGO -- Newly acquired outfielder Austin Jackson joined the Cubs at Wrigley Field for Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Reds, along with four players from Triple-A Iowa, including infielder Javier Baez.
Baez and left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada were recalled from Iowa, and the Cubs selected the contracts of outfielder Quintin Berry and right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill. Jackson was acquired from the Mariners on Monday. Baez started at second base and went 0-for-4, while Jackson entered as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-2.
To make room for Berry and Cahill on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher James Russell was designated for assignment, and right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano was activated from the 15-day disabled list and DFA'd. The moves put the Cubs' 40-man roster at 40, and the active roster now is at 30.
Baez, who started at second base Tuesday night, couldn't wait to get to the ballpark, and showed up at Wrigley Field at 1 p.m. CT, six hours before the start of the game. He missed one month at the start of the season to take care of his family following the death of his sister, then missed another month when he fractured a finger in a headfirst slide. The injury may have helped.
"Right when I got hurt, I could only swing with one hand, and that's what I was doing was swinging with one hand, and I finally got my swing back," said Baez, 22, who batted .324 in 70 games at Iowa with 13 home runs, 14 doubles, two triples and 61 RBIs.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Baez had "earned his way" to the big leagues.
"Javy has put in a lot of work on his approach," Epstein said. "He's been really focused on it and keeping his approach under control and keeping his front foot down and even eliminating the leg kick. That's been a process for him."
The Cubs are hoping for improvement. Baez was called up last August, and batted .169 in 52 games with 95 strikeouts in 213 at-bats.
"It's been a really tough year for me and my family, plus my injury, and I was out for almost two months," Baez said. "That's why it made me really patient."
Jackson was an attractive addition because he gives the Cubs outfield depth, which is needed with Jorge Soler on the DL because of a strained left oblique. The Cubs also were looking for some help in terms in baserunning, someone with playoff experience and a backup in center field.
"It seemed a no-brainer for us," Epstein said of acquiring Jackson.
"This is awesome," Jackson said. "Any time you get a chance to come to a contending team, that's all you really want."
Jackson reached the postseason three straight years, 2011-13, with the Tigers, and could provide some advice for the young Cubs.
"It's just about nerves and being able to calm your nerves," Jackson said. "The first time I went, it kind of overwhelmed me with everything and the atmosphere. Once you can learn to control your nerves a little bit and enjoy the moment, it becomes a lot easier.
A left-handed hitter, Berry, 30, hit .228 in 106 games at Triple-A Pawtucket with 35 stolen bases, and in five games at Iowa, he was 2-for-14.
"I was hoping [to be called up]," Berry said. "You never know what a team has planned for you or what's going on. You hope you get an opportunity."
Wada, 34, made seven starts with the Cubs earlier this year and the team does have two doubleheaders coming up, but Epstein said they may use someone else in the bullpen and noted that Minor Leaguers Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch were doing well at Iowa and also could be options.