MESA, Ariz. -- With Cubs manager Dale Sveum aiming to get his regulars more playing time soon, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler will likely be sent to minor league camp by the end of next week.
The Cubs will send a split squad to Las Vegas next weekend for a pair of games, and Baez and Soler will likely be shipped to minor league camp either before or after that trip, Sveum said Saturday.
"They have to go down and start playing every single day, because our main guys are going to start playing so many more innings here, starting next Friday," Sveum said.
The pair are still a ways off from coming to Clark and Addison, despite solid Cactus League showings. Baez homered in his first at-bat Saturday and has nine hits in 25 at-bats this spring, while Soler is 5-19 with a 9/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"They're so raw that they just have to play so many more baseball games before they're ready for this kind of big league pitching every day," Sveum said. "Soler has been impressive to where he just doesn't go up there swinging, he's got a pretty good idea, lays off a lot of borderline pitches. Soler's poise in the outfield, and like I've said before, for a guy who hasn't played a whole lot of games it's pretty impressive how much poise he has."
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Baez said he's benefitted from the experience of big league camp in helping him slow the game down, but he's cognizant of his greenhorn status with the organization.
"They know I can play the game," Baez said. "I still gotta learn a lot of things."
He also won't fight being sent to minor-league camp, whenever that day arrives.
"I'm ready for whatever they want me to do," Baez said. "If that's what they want me to do, that's what I'm going to do."
Rain pushes back Castro's return
Starlin Castro's return to the Cubs lineup will likely come next Wednesday after torrential rains limited what he could do outside on Friday. Previously, Castro's return was slated for either before or after Tuesday's off day, but with the weather system that drenched the Phoenix area Friday, it'll come Wednesday.
The same goes for Brent Lillibridge, who's working his way back from a minor groin issue. Third baseman Ian Stewart is on track to return between March 13 and 15, while there's no timetable for Matt Garza's return. Sveum, however, said the right-hander is throwing "really, really well," on Saturday.
[MORE: Lillibridge aiming to make his mark behind Castro]
On the field
Cleveland's revamped offense flexed its muscle Saturday at HoHoKam Park, as the Indians beat the Cubs 9-2. Brooks Raley (1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB) and Alberto Cabrera (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 3 BB) allowed most of the damage, with Chicagoland native Jason Kipnis hitting a solo shot off Raley.
David DeJesus had two doubles in three at-bats, while Baez' home run accounted for all of the Cubs' offense.