Maddon on Baez: 'Stay ready'
Cubs skipper pleased with current infield, but knows prospect's time will come
SAN DIEGO -- During Spring Training, Cubs manager Joe Maddon raved about Javier Baez's defense at second base. After seeing his infield make three errors on Tuesday, could the team use Baez?
"Javy can make any defense better," Maddon said Wednesday. "I talked about that in camp -- I thought he was one of the finest young infielders I've seen, but I'm not displeased with anybody out there right now. Sometimes you just have to wait your opportunity, your turn.
"From Javy's perspective, the biggest thing he has to do is stay ready."
Baez was batting .296 in 19 games with Triple-A Iowa, hitting two home runs and three doubles, while driving in 10 runs. He has walked six times and struck out 20 in 71 at-bats. Projected as the Cubs starting second baseman this season, he batted .182 with 21 strikeouts in 17 Cactus League games and was assigned to the Minor League team.
The Cubs had played eight straight games without an error prior to Tuesday's game.
"I think our defense has been good," Maddon said. "I'll defend our defense."
Rookies Addison Russell and Kris Bryant were both charged with errors Tuesday along with shortstop Starlin Castro. Maddon cautioned Cubs fans that it won't be the last time.
"I think every one of them knows what they did wrong last night, and furthermore, I expect them to do it again," Maddon said. "I expect them to make several more mistakes before the year is over. I expect them all to make several mistakes when it's critical because it's a really difficult game to play when they're young."
"Our guys are going to make mistakes," he continued. "People have to understand that. ... I don't expect these guys to be perfect. I ask them to be present."
• Tsuyoshi Wada made his 2015 debut on Wednesday, replacing Travis Wood in the rotation. If the Cubs needed another starter, who would be next? Maddon said it could be Wood or Edwin Jackson, who are both in the bullpen. That was the message the manager gave both pitchers when he told them they were going to the 'pen. The Cubs had been one of three teams that had used just five starting pitchers all season, joining the Tigers and Brewers. Wada is now the sixth.
• In the seventh inning on Saturday, Jonathan Herrera was called on to pinch-hit against Pirates' power reliever Arquimedes Caminero. Herrera struck out.
"After the game, I gave him a bottle of wine and apologized," Maddon said. "First at-bat in two weeks, and he's facing 100 miles an hour."
Maddon likes to have fun with Herrera.
"I said, 'I didn't know you spoke Spanish,'" Maddon said.
Herrera, in case you didn't know, is Venezuelan.