Cubs manager Joe Maddon used a scheduled day off for shortstop Addison Russell to show off the Cubs’ other Gold Glove-caliber option at the position – and to remind the Javy Baez-for-pitching trade-mongers why the Cubs are more likely to trade secrets with the Russians than Baez at the deadline.
“A lot of times when people are mentioned in a trade, sometimes if it’s perceived that they’re not going well, people want to push them to the front of the line,” said Maddon, adding that perceived depth or redundancy at a position area is another factor.
“I think Javy’s going to be in that position for a bit,” Maddon said. “No intent on our part. However, he’s still going to be mentioned in those moments because of what I just said; he’s going to go good or bad.”
Baez, who slumped through April, has heated up during the just-concluded 10-day homestand, even batting leadoff Wednesday.
In the field? In Thursday’s 5-1 victory over the Giants, he closed the eighth with a spectacular stop in the hole, leaped to his feet and threw a Kyle Hendricks fastball (84.1 mph) to first to get Joe Panik by a half-step.
General manager Jed Hoyer reiterated Thursday on WSCR-AM the points he made a week earlier in a conversation with the Sun-Times, outlining the reasons Baez is not being considered in the Cubs’ trade plans – including a reluctance to trade from the big-league core and Baez’s “ability to change a game” offensively or defensively.
“This kid is impactful,” Maddon said. “Given the nature of our team, with the young guys, you’re going to hear [rumors]. If you’re going to attempt to get pitching you’re going to hear the typical names mentioned.
“Being able to give Addy a rest with Baez at short – I mean, that’s just a beautiful thing to be able to do. And I can’t emphasize enough: If you like our kids, just wait a little bit, continue to fertilize them, nurture them. They’re going to keep getting better.”
Notes: Giants left fielder Eduardo Nunez, who was 4-for-11 in the first three games of the series, was scratched from Thursday’s lineup because of a tight hamstring. …The Reds claimed right-hander Jake Buchanan off waivers after the Cubs designated him for assignment Monday to make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Zac Rosscup. Buchanan made one start and a relief appearance for the Cubs last year. …When Cubs closer Wade Davis allowed a two-run homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, it snapped a streak of 64 1/3 innings without allowing a homer that dated to last September. It also snapped his streak of 18 scoreless appearances, the longest by a Cub to start a season since Les Lancaster (20) in 1989. …With a 3-for-4 day, Ben Zobrist extended his streak of reaching base via hit or walk to 22 games, the third-longest active streak in the majors. …Jason Heyward’s go-ahead line drive into the right-field basket in the fifth inning was his fifth homer of the season. He had one at this point last year and didn’t hit his fifth until July 29.
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