Tuesday, Major League Baseball rosters expand to 40 players on the active roster. For the Cubs, that means the return of Javier Baez.
The powerful infielder was called up Tuesday and will rejoin the team. During his weekly radio interview with WSCR 670’s “Spiegel and Goff Show” Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked how he plans on using Baez.
You’re going to see him play obviously. What’s his role specifically? Second base, third base, maybe a shortstop day on occasion. I’m not 100% sure yet how that’s going to play, definitely want to give Addison [Russell] a break.
Maddon put the emphasis on matching Baez up offensively in situations where he can succeed and be a threat.
The manager was very complimentary of Baez. Maddon praised his understanding of the game and base running.
Baez looks to improve on his first stint with the Cubs in 2014. Despite a hot start, the infielder hit below the Mendoza line at .169 with 95 strikeouts in only 229 plate appearances.
Castro’s new role
During the same interview, Maddon said he felt confident in Starlin Castro’s ability to recover from Monday night’s game in which he committed three costly errors at second base.
However, unless Kris Bryant is moved from third base to the outfield on a more regular basis, the addition of Baez will directly take away from Castro’s involvement.