Cubs second baseman Javy Baez leaves game with hamstring ‘tightness’

MESA, Ariz. — Javier Baez, the Cubs’ high-energy second baseman, left Thursday’s game against the Padres after experiencing “tightness” in his left hamstring while rounding first base after hitting a ball into the left-center gap in the second inning.

Baez grabbed the left hamstring as he rounded first, then glided into second base, tried to stretch and signaled to the dugout.

He left the game at that point with the trainer.

The Cubs said later during the game that Baez was being “evaluated for left hamstring tightness.”

Javy Baez loses the ball trying to make a quick grab and tag in a game last summer.

Baez, who has gained a reputation for acrobatic plays in the field and quick tags, is expected to be the Cubs’ everyday second baseman this season. He talked early in the spring about his goal to win a Gold Glove award.

“I want to try to stay healthy the whole year again and try to get that Gold Glove that I want,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of people know of me because of my defense so [the goal is] just try and get that Gold Glove and stay healthy.”

Baez played over 140 games in each of the past two seasons with the Cubs. The versatile infielder set career-highs with 23 home runs and 75 RBI over 508 plate appearances during the 2017 season. Over the course of four seasons, he’s posted a .273/.317/.480 batting line with 47 home runs.

Last season, Ben Zobrist spent significant time at second baseman, starting 65 games there. Baez, who was the Cubs’ second baseman listed on the All-Star ballot in 2017, started 56 games there — shifting to short for close to two months when Addison Russell was injured.

He has spent time at every position except catcher and center fielder during his four-year MLB career.

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