Vets young and old have Baez's back
DENVER -- Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva gave Javier Baez the "talk' shortly after he had arrived in the visitor's clubhouse on Tuesday, the 21-year-old infielder's first day in the big leagues.
There are three pieces of advice, Villanueva said. No. 1, don't be late. No. 2, don't forget refreshments for the team bus. And, No. 3, don't get noticed for the wrong reasons.
The Cubs are hoping to see all the good things Baez can do, but also are quick to caution that there may be some growing pains.
Baez, 21, made his Major League debut Tuesday, batting second and playing second base in the Cubs' first game of a three-game series against the Rockies.
"I'm happy to have him here," shortstop Starlin Castro said. "I think it's really important for him to be here. He can learn every day about how the game is here in the big leagues. I'm really happy for him."
Baez called Castro when he arrived in Denver Monday, and the two had dinner at Morton's. On Tuesday, Castro planned on taking his new second baseman shopping so he looked like a big leaguer.
"They've earned it," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of Baez and rookie Arismendy Alcantara. "It's more for the guys in the Minors who should be excited about all of this. ... That should make people in the Minors hungrier."
So, who's next? Castro lobbied for Baez over the weekend in Los Angeles.
"Who, [Jorge] Soler? They have to bring him, too," Castro said. "And [Kris] Bryant. Next year, we'll have a really young team, and we can be together and prove it. You know we have a lot of talent and players who can play at this level. I think it'll be really good for us."