Javy Baez does Javy Baez things in Cubs’ victory against Marlins
Baez made a series of slick plays, the coming when he dived to his right to snag a grounder by Jon Berti in the second inning.
Cubs shortstop Javy Baez had another one of those days. And it didn’t really matter that he went 0-for-3 and only reached when he was hit by a pitch.
Baez, who said his right thumb is not quite 100%, made a series of slick plays in the field during the Cubs’ 2-0 victory Sunday against the Marlins. The best came when he dived to his right to snag a grounder by Jon Berti, then threw to second for a force to end the second inning.
‘‘Today was a busy day playing defense, which I love,’’ Baez said. ‘‘I was just ready for the ball to come to me.’’
Right-hander Alec Mills said Baez made a couple of ‘‘jaw-dropping’’ plays. The one in the second stood out, even by Baez’s standards. It also prevented the Marlins from putting runners at first and third and enabled Mills to save a few pitches.
‘‘I don’t think we should ever be surprised, but that was unbelievable,’’ Mills said. ‘‘That was a game-changer for me. Got out of an inning.’’
Monday is the day
Monday is when Major League Baseball will begin its enhanced enforcement of rules regarding pitchers and foreign substances. Cubs manager David Ross said he has talked with his players about the inspections and what that will look like in a game.
‘‘It will be an adjustment for everyone,’’ Ross said. ‘‘It’s just like any new rule or any new thing you put in play on the field during game time. It definitely will be a little awkward, but we’ll get through it and adjust.’’
Starting pitchers will be checked at least once per game, and relievers must be inspected at the end of their first inning or when they are removed, whichever occurs first. Most checks will happen between innings or during pitching changes.
Back in the lineup after getting Saturday off, catcher Willson Contreras got praise from Ross for adjusting well to the parade of pitchers he has caught, controlling the running game and providing leadership, energy and other important intangibles.
Contreras’ presence has been even more important because the Cubs have shifted from one backup catcher to another.
‘‘The value he brings is just as important as all the love that Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo get and Javy,’’ Ross said. ‘‘He’s on that same level for me because of the role that he has to play and how demanding that job is on a person.’’
This and that
Ross said that infielder Matt Duffy (strained lower back) hasn’t progressed in about a week and that the recovery has taken ‘‘a little bit longer than I think we were expecting.’’ Ross indicated infielder Nico Hoerner (strained left hamstring) might be a week or 10 days from a rehab assignment.
• The Cubs selected left-hander Kyle Ryan from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-hander Cory Abbott to Iowa. They also designated right-hander Robert Stock for assignment.
• Left-hander Justin Steele (strained right hamstring) threw off the mound before the game.