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Javy Baez throws out Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s WBC final.

Javy Baez looks ready for season with more than a week to go

SHARE Javy Baez looks ready for season with more than a week to go
SHARE Javy Baez looks ready for season with more than a week to go

MESA, Ariz. — He was the toast of October for the Cubs during their postseason run last fall. And he has picked up where he left off in the World Baseball Classic this spring, lighting up Twitter and YouTube with no-look tags, 90-mph relay throws for outs at the plate and swim-move slides into third base.

Whether any of it actually leads to a starting job for the Cubs this season, Javy Baez, the emotional leader of Puerto Rico’s run into Wednesday night’s WBC final has his big-league manager looking forward to his return to camp this week.

“I’m really enjoying it,” manager Joe Maddon said of watching Baez’s flashy, thrilling and winning style in the WBC, comparing it to the exuberant style in some of the winter leagues. “Everybody’s enjoying watching it. I think that’s what you’re seeing with Javy right now. He feels like he’s at home. He’s playing full throttle, which he did at the end of last year also — pretty much all season.

“But being among his boys from back home, I think you’re seeing even a little bit more of that because the whole group is that way. I’m happy for him.

“Coming back, his confidence should be soaring. And he’s definitely going to be ready to play a regular-season major league game.”

DeJesus joins Cubs broadcasts

David DeJesus, the first free- agent signed by the Cubs under Theo Epstein in 2011, returns to the fold this season as a broadcaster, CSN Chicago announced Wednesday.

DeJesus, 37, replaces Todd Hollandsworth as an analyst on pregame and postgame shows. Hollandsworth left in December to become a full-time color analyst for Marlins broadcasts.

DeJesus, an early mentor for first baseman Anthony Rizzo, was the Cubs’ leadoff hitter in 2012 team that lost 101 games. The outfielder eventually was traded for cash the following summer to the Nationals, who then flipped him in a trade four days later to Maddon’s Rays.

This and that

Infielder Tommy La Stella, who was slowed last year and this spring by hamstring issues worked on the agility field Wednesday afternoon under the supervision of strength coach Tim Buss. “It’s another part of our complete method in regards to training our athletes,” said Maddon.

•Left-hander Brian Duensing is scheduled to pitch Thursday, exactly two weeks after leaving his last game because of a back tightness.

•Second baseman Ben Zobrist was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup because of a stiff neck. The Cubs expect him to return within the next few days.

Follow me on Twitter@GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

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