Baez Can Do Whatever the...

Javier Baez belted a three-run home run and Yasiel Balaguert stroked an RBI triple and scored on a Jair Bogaerts RBI single, as the Cubs plated five runs in the bottom of the 4th en route to a 5-1 victory over the Angels in Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

The Baez HR was not without controversy.

Baez stood at home plate for a couple of seconds after absolutely walloping the gopher ball 400+ feet and off the roof of a house on the north side of 8th Street (Baez did the exact same thing on Tuesday when he launched a three-run homer over the LF fence at Indian School Park in Scottsdale), at which point one of the Angel coaches yelled, “Run the bases!”

Baez initially took the “advice” and he did run the bases (albeit a bit of a “Cadillac” trot that probably further irritated the opposition), but upon reaching home plate Baez stopped and yelled back at the Angel bench, “I can do whatever the fuck I want!”

Trey Martin and Gioskar Amaya (who were on base in front of Baez) and on-deck hitter Rock Shoulders pulled Baez back to the Cubs bench, avoiding a potential bench-clearing brawl on the field. (BTW, having a big dude like Rock Shoulders on the field might be the best deterrent to violence since Mutually Assured Destruction).

It was one of the only times I can remember something like this happening in an Extended Spring Training game. Sometimes players get upset, but this was more like what you see in the big leagues. I kind of expected Baez to get pulled out of the game and sent to the clubhouse to cool off, but he stayed in the game, and in fact he played all nine innings at shortstop.

LHP Sheldon McDonald had an outstanding outing, throwing three hitless-shutout innings (40 pitches), with six strikeouts. He now has 11 strikeouts in five innings of work over the last four days, and would seem to be on the top of the EXST Cubs list for promotion to Peoria or Daytona.

McDonald is no hotshot young prospect, however. He was a 22-year old “5th year senior” when drafted by the Cubs in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft out of the University of British Columbia (by way of Northeastern University). McDonald has considerable experience in international play, pitching for the Canadian Junior National Team as a teenager, and then for Team Canada while in college..

Now 23-years old, McDonald appears to be much too advanced to remain at Extended Spring Training. I would think he could possibly be a very useful lefty reliever for one of the Cubs full-season minor league affiliates.

20-year old switch-hitting Dominican OF Kevin Encarnacion made his U. S. debut today, coming into the game as a late-inning replacement in CF. He bounced-out to the pitcher in his only AB.

Encarnacion played in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) the past two seasons (2010-11), hitting 268/382/368 with 13 doubles, 12 triples, 71/67 BB/K, and 43 SB (21 CS), in 129 DSL games.

Mark Malave has also arrived and made his 2012 debut in today’s game, entering the contest as a late-inning replacement at 3B. Although he was signed as a catcher, the 17-year old switch-hitting Malave has been working-out exclusively at 3rd base since arriving at Fitch Park earlier this week.

This is not Malave’s first time in Arizona. The youngster attended the AZ Instructional League as a 16-year old last fall, hitting 143/250/143 for the Cubs in 10 AIL games, while playing both catcher and 3rd base. And he did show more promise (defensively) at 3rd base than at catcher at that time.

Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus (equivalent to “1st round money”) when he was signed by the Cubs at the start of the International Signing Period last July 2nd.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

CUBS LINEUP:
1a. Trey Martin, CF: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 6-3, R)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-1 (1-3)
2a. Gioskar Amaya, 3B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-9, R)
2b. Mark Malave, 3B: DID NOT BAT
3. Javier Baez, SS: 1-3 (P-5, HR, 5-3, R, 3 RBI)
4. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 2B, R)
5a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (K, 3B, 5-3-5 DP, R, RBI)
5b. Delbis Arcila, RF: DID NOT BAT
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3)
7. Jair Bogaerts, DH #2: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, 1B, F-8, RBI)
8. Brian Inoa, 2B: 1-2 (F-7, BB, 1B)
9a. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-2 (K, P-6)
9b. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-1 (F-8)
10. Dong-Yub Kim, LF-DH: 0-3 (4-3, 6-4 FC, 6-3)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Wilfredo Petit, DH #3: 1-1 (1B, PO)
11c. Jeffrey Baez, LF: 0-1 (L-5)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. James Pugliese: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2 PO, 38 pitches (23 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 40 pitches (27 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
3. Sheldon McDonald: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP, 40 pitches (29 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Felix Pena: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 13 pitches (10 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Javier Baez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Trey Martin threw out runner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on line-drive single to CF

ATTENDANCE: 16

WEATHER: Sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures in the 70’s

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Comments

Anybody looking ready to go to Peoria for Golden?

Baez behavior prohibited by rules on page 26 of The Cubs Way manual.

when he gets to the bigs he can have all the in-game liquor and chicken he wants...until then he needs to shape up.

He's Javier f'n Baez!

That's true love, what you just did for crunch

Fri, 04/13/2012 - 4:32pm — tim815

Anybody looking ready to go to Peoria for Golden?

===================================

TIM: I would say probably Xavier Batista.

He was the last cut from the Peoria squad at Minor League Camp prior to Opening Day.

Yasiel Balaguert is the other possibility.

Both can play RF.

Hey AZ Phil,

Thanks for the report? Are you starting to develop any opinions about Baez and his conduct on the baseball field? This certainly doesn't sound like the type of thing coaches usually want the youngsters (anyone, but especially the greenest players) to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZLVi4v7lSM

i don't go to school and i kill people...whatever...i do what i want.

Fri, 04/13/2012 - 5:24pm — Charlie

Hey AZ Phil,

Thanks for the report? Are you starting to develop any opinions about Baez and his conduct on the baseball field? This certainly doesn't sound like the type of thing coaches usually want the youngsters (anyone, but especially the greenest players) to do.

===============================

CHARLIE: Javier Baez is a brash & cocky kid. He appears to be very driven and competitive. He also is extremely talented, and he knows it.

I don't know how the Cubs feel about his behavior on the field. The fact that he wasn't pulled out of the game after his outburst leads me to believe that Cubs management has no problem with it.

I can recall him waving his arms and yelling at a pitcher (a teammate) at Instructs last year after the pitcher forgot about a pick-off play and threw a pitch with Baez standing at 2nd base.

He kind of reminds me a little bit of Jim Piersall in Fear Strikes Out.

He definitely plays with emotion, that's for dang sure.

And did I mention that he is 5-10 in his first three EXST games, with two three-run home runs, two trtiples, and a double? (He also took Paul Maholm deep in an intrasquad game at Fitch Park last week, hitting a two-run bomb).

Not too shabby.

That makes sense, Phil. Thanks!

For my own future viewing pleasure, I hope he learns how to not show up his teammates at least.

If I were a good person, I guess I would wish the Cards well and want them to have a good game to celebrate their world series rings and put on a good show for the crowd that came to see it. I guess I'm not a good person.

That doesn't necessarily make you a bad person.

They already celebrated their lucky Series with a parade and such. This is just rubbing it in and should be roundly booed and dismissed. Unless we win then we can do this every home game.

I-Cubs leading 5-2 in Texas (Round Rock) in the 6th. JJax pitched 5 IP and 2 runs

but the news is Anthony Rizzo with 2 HR's and 3 RBI's. Welington Castillo also having another strong night with 2 hits including a HR.

and Brett Jackson gets in on the fun with a Towering HR, 6-2 in the 7th

Was at I-Cubs game. The one Jackson hit was a no doubter. It screamed out of the ball park. Castillo looked great, HR, double that landed in the gap near warning track and another fly out that was caught on the run on the track.

Rizzo's second homer was a pop fly that just made it over fence. Unfortunately, missed the Cubs top of first due to traffic and opening night lines. I think I could drive from Chicago to Milwaukee faster than I can get from South Central Austin up to edge of suburbia hell that is Round Rock's Dell Diamond on a Friday.

Nice moment of the night was when a gentleman stopped and sat next to me and my girlfriend a moment. I was wearing my Cubs Santo Copperstown collection jersey my brother got me for Christmas. The older gentlemen, who was incredibly nice, wondered why a "young kid" (i'm in my 30's) would be wearing a Ron Santo jersey. He wasn't a Cubs fan but he'd had a Santo "autographed" glove and for that reason alone Santo was always one of his favorite players. He told his story and then went on his way. Just one of those nice moments that always seem to happen at a minor league ball game.

Is LaHair good at any positions besides 1b? With Rizzo smoking the ball and LaHair playing well, just wondering if LaHair will be trade bait or usable on our club.

Wondering the same thing. I hope to hell he or Rizzo can play LF/OF cause I have a good feeling about both...

might want to check again once a better view of his K rate vs how many homers he can hit is established. after today he's got 9Ks in 20ab.

either way, LF/RF is blocked, too.

Well in general basing anything off one week of play (or even more all the qqing after the first game) is pretty dumb. Just trying to get a general impression of our options depending how things shake out.

LaHair is reported to be a decent left fielder, and a somewhat lesser, but acceptable right fielder. Assuming that Soriano is not traded, the only reasonable option seems to be to get rid of Byrd, move DeJesus to center, and Lahair in left.

Assuming that LaHair and Rizzo hit well, that would leave us with a pretty good offense and a marginal outfield defense.

If LaHair and Rizzo both have great seasons, I would expect to see LaHair traded to a middle or low budget team in need of a cheap slugger for the next 2-3 years in return for the best prospects that JedStein can barter for. LaHair is exactly the kind of player that a Pirates or Tampa Bay franchise has to collect--he might be a 30 HR player, but not big market team should really want to commit to him in a year that they could contend, because they will probably want someone who has more potential or a better track record.

Can't imagine the Cubs will pass up the opportunity to turn a surplus at 1B (if both these players succeed) into a stronger farm system from which they might be able to address other needs.

Time, brother Cubs fans, time. Small sample size, etc., etc. Fukudome used to have great Aprils and LaHair hasn't even had a whole April yet. I watched too many hot streaks flame out over the course of a season. Heck, Hurricane Hazle (as a 26 yr. old) came up to the Milwaukee Braves and batted .403/.477/.649 over 41 games (134 AB) at the end of 1957. He was out of the majors by 1959. Too many like that to mention. I'm just too old, I guess.

Rizzo is the one to be excited about

He looks like best prospect since Joe CarteR

I hope he ends up being a better color man on TV than Carter was.

early season lulz...

aram has 2sb in 7 games this season (2sb in the past 3 games). he hasn't had 2sb in a season since 2009. he's never had more than 2sb in a season since his career high in 2001 (5).

wow...turns out matt bush didn't just hit that old dude on a motorcycle a few weeks ago...that was the last of his 3 car accidents that day.

http://www2.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/2012/a...

Despite that obvious "he gets what he deserves", etc. etc., it is so sad when seeing people that just seem bound and determined to throw their life away. The money and fame isn't important, but it just make it so much more noticeable to the rest of us. I remember how intelligent my uncle seemed to me and now he's in jail because the cocaine habit he picked up in the air force.

It's funny the turn that a life can take. Not funny ha-ha. Choices can really make a difference.

Castro on pace for 121 steals. BuhBye, Maury Wills!

You have to youtube the video now...but that slide is awesome!

How in all of creation did I not know the Cubs had a minor leaguer named Rock Shoulders? That's an amazing name.

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