Javy Baez benched by manager David Ross in Cubs’ loss to Indians

Baez forgot the number of outs in the fourth inning, leading to an inning-ending double play in the Cubs’ 4-0 loss.

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Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Manager David Ross wants his players to have fun and enjoy themselves on the field everyday, but one of his requirements is playing with effort and focus. In the Cubs’ 4-0 loss to the Indians on Monday, shortstop Javy Baez lost some of that focus, leading to an early exit from the game.

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Baez was on first base in the fourth inning with one out when first baseman Anthony Rizzo flied out to left. Baez, not realizing how many outs there were, never stopped running after and once he realized, never made an attempt to get back to first base.

“We just got to make sure we’re focused and locked in during the game,” Ross said after the game. “Sometimes our frustrations can distract us a little bit. We had a good conversation, I think that’s behind us. Javy’s really important to this team and he’s a leader on this team and sets a good example every time he’s on the field.”

The mental lapse led to an inning-ending double play and led Ross to bench his superstar shortstop the next inning. During Rizzo’s at-bat, Baez was also glued to the bag and didn’t take a lead off until the pitch was thrown.

“He’s one of the guys that I rely on to set a good example for all these guys,” Ross said. “But I think highly of him and his skill set. So, yeah, I think it’s just a little bit of lack of concentration.”

“I was just surprised,” Baez said. “Obviously, I never want to be out of the lineup. You just respect his decision.”

When the Cubs returned to the field in the fifth inning, Sergio Alcantara replaced Baez at shortstop. Since Ross took over as manager last year, Baez has had some mental lapses. Many times Ross would talk to him in the dugout and allow him to remain in the game, avoiding making an example of his player in public.

But this time, Ross decided to send a message to Baez and pull him from the game. Last season, Ross made a similar move with outfielder Kyle Schwarber after a lapse on defense. While it’s a decision he felt he had to make, it’s still not something the second-year manager wants to do.

“It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That’s a big pit stomach and was in my stomach the entire game.”

There are a few players you’re going to find on a baseball field that play harder than Baez, who on a nightly basis does extra to make things happen for the Cubs. But Baez sets an example for the group and he had to pay the price for the mental error.

Despite the disappointment of being removed from the game, Baez understood why the move needed to be made.

“I blame myself. I lost count of the outs,” Baez said. “We talked about it and we’re on the same page. I’ll be there tomorrow to help the team.”

“There are no hard feelings right now,” he said. “Things happen between brothers, teammates and managers. It happens and we always try to be on the same page and try to help the team as much as we can.”

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