Cubs: No long-term concerns about Baez

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Cubs: No long-term concerns about Baez

Javier Baez is missing out on the chance to develop further in the Arizona Fall League. But the Cubs dont have long-term concerns about a player they think will one day become part of their core.

How did Baez wind up with a non-displaced fracture on the tip of his right thumb? To borrow a medical term from Lou Piniella, it might be classified as a Cubbie occurrence.

Celebratory high-five or (something like that), general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday. They dont know exactly when he did it, but it was some sort of odd, non-baseball-playing injury. It certainly wasnt anything negative. He didnt punch a wall or anything. But it sounds like he was celebrating and might have hit it wrong.

People whove watched Baez extensively say he plays with swagger, almost out of control at times. But the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft has made great strides. At 19, he was the second-youngest prospect in the Arizona Fall League.

Baseball America ranked Baez as the No. 1 prospect in the Midwest League after he hit .333 with a .979 OPS and 20 stolen bases in 57 games with Class-A Peoria. Hes a shortstop for now at least, or until hes close enough to the big leagues to think about playing alongside Starlin Castro. A logical path would have him returning to Class-A Daytona for the beginning of next season before finishing at Double-A Tennessee.

Baez tried to play through the injury before leaving Saturdays game. He hit .211 with four homers and 16 RBI in 14 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. Hes expected to be 100 percent by spring training.

He had had some really good moments in the Fall League, Hoyer said. Being such a young player in the Fall League and having to make those adjustments was really good for him. Thats the unfortunate part. The injurys not going to hinder anything going forward.

Wake-up Call: Cubs targeting Yu?; Yoan produces for Sox; Q plots line combos

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USA TODAY

Wake-up Call: Cubs targeting Yu?; Yoan produces for Sox; Q plots line combos

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Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

With NL Central suddenly bunched up, a reminder it won't all be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for Cubs in second half

 

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

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AP

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these single-inning implosions lately.

At least not at the major-league level.

For the third time in the last five Wrigley Field contest, the Cubs pitching staff has allowed at least seven runs in an inning.

This time, it was nine runs before the first out was recorded in the eighth inning of Friday's 11-4 Cardinals victory.

The Cubs actually entered the inning clinging to a 3-2 lead and had their best setup guy — Carl Edwards Jr. — slated to pitch against the top of the Cardinals order.

But after taking out his teammate with a foul ball, Matt Carpenter began the wacky inning with a double off Edwards and the rout was on.

"We had a bad inning pitching," Maddon said after the game. "That's the third time in a week here at this ballpark, if you go back prior to the break. It's a seven, a nine and a 10 in an inning. 

"I've not seen that since rookie ball. That's crazy stuff. I'm saying it straight up: We played good baseball today. We just pitched badly for one inning. Some really good pitchers had a tough time.

"...That's kind of a strange day. We played well and lost because we gave up nine runs in an inning, which is really awkward to watch from the dugout."

Thirty-eight minutes after Edwards threw the first pitch of the inning, the Cubs finally retired the Cardinals and were looking up at an 11-3 score. 

Neither Edwards nor Hector Rondon recorded an out and they combined with Justin Grimm to allow six hits, six walks and nine runs.

Here's how it all went down:

That's the second straight Wrigley Field game that has featured at least nine runs in an inning but a Cubs opponent. Ace Jon Lester surrendered 10 runs in the first inning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the day before the All-Star Break began.

And the day before that series began, Mike Montgomery and the Cubs gave up seven runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in a rain make-up game at the "Friendly Confines."

"You see it every now and again. Not often," said Jake Arrieta, Friday's starting pitcher who was in line for a win before that wild eighth inning. "You stick around this game long enough and you see some crazy things happen. And really, that was the turning point in the game. 

"A couple guys had a pretty rare outing in the 8th there. You won't see that rarely ever or ever again from those two guys. Just a tough one."

Rondon, who had entered the game having allowed just two runs in his last 13 innings, could do nothing but shake his head in trying to explain it after the game.

"That was a weird, weird inning," Rondon said. "First time I've seen something like that — nine runs with no outs. But it is what it is. They got us today and we'll see tomorrow."

Maddon has seen control issues with his bullpen all year, but still has confidence in the unit as a whole. He knows not to overreact to one game.

However, Maddon did point to the first game coming out of the All-Star Break where Montgomery and the Cubs bullpen squandered an 8-0 lead before Addison Russell's heroics to break the tie for good late in that contest.

"The bullpen has been fabulous," Maddon said. "Twice since the break, they just had tough games."

Rondon and the Cubs relievers won't overreact, either.

A year ago at this time, Rondon was the Cubs' closer and they hadn't yet traded for Aroldis Chapman. So no, one outing won't get him down. 

"Right now, I'm pissed and whatever," he said, "but tomorrow, I'll come in with a different mentality and try to win the game."