LOS ANGELES – It took more than five months, but Javy Baez finally gets his shot to have an impact on the Cubs’ season, starting next week.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he expects the big-swinging infielder to join the club in its first wave of additions when rosters expand Tuesday for the rest of the season. He could immediately join a mix-and-match defensive rotation for the stretch run.
“There’s a lot of things he can do to help you win now,” Maddon said of Baez, who was hitting .316 with 14 homers and a .911 OPS in 67 games after missing the first month for family reasons and another month because of a broken finger.
“We’re moving him all over the place so he gets used to that,” Maddon said. “He’s having good at-bats, more consistent at-bats in regards to being under control and been doing well.”
The shortstop, who has played second base the last two seasons, has played eight games at third recently for AAA Iowa, and has been practicing in the outfield.
Baez homered in his big-league debut last August and wound up with nine in 52 games last season with the Cubs, but he also struck out 95 times and had a .169 average (.229 on-base percentage).
The Cubs also plan to bring up recent minor-league additions Quintin Berry and Emilio Bonifacio on Tuesday and look at activating at least one or two players from the disabled list (reliever Rafael Soriano).
Reliever Jason Motte and right-fielder Jorge Soler likely won’t be activated any earlier than the middle of the month.
The Cubs expect to wait until the minor-league season is over about a week into the month before adding most of the extra pitching they want.
Top pitching prospect Carl Edwards Jr., who has a 2.87 ERA in 34 appearances between Class AA and AAA this season, is a possibility, Maddon said.
One pitcher not on the list, despite some outside-the-organization buzz, is Class AA starter Pierce Johnson.