Javier Baez, who was long considered one of the Chicago Cubs’ top prospects before being called up to the big leagues last year, sustained a hand injury that will sideline him for at least one month and perhaps two.
Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register reported Baez appeared to jam a finger while sliding headfirst into second base for the Iowa Cubs, Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers provided the injury update:
Baez with a fracture in left ring finger. Will be re evaluated but initial thought was 4-8 weeks.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) June 7, 2015
Baez was hitting .314 with eight home runs and 29 RBI and had stolen six bases.
In 52 games with the big-league Cubs last season, Baez swatted nine homers and knocked in 20 runs, but a .169 batting average with 95 strikeouts to just 15 walks relegated him to the minors.
Baez recently moved from the middle of the infield to third base, which Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune noted would give the Cubs more flexibility when they eventually call the 22-year-old up. Starlin Castro is at shortstop, while top prospects Addison Russell and Kris Bryant are occupy second and third base, respectively.
However, Bryant could switch from his spot at the hot corner to the outfield, conceivably opening room for Baez alongside Castro. Cubs manager Joe Maddon addressed the possibility. Per Gonzales, Maddon said:
“We wanted to give him this opportunity to learn the position more readily and having that be open to us in the future if we chose to do something like that. There’s no lock-in to anything. [Third base] probably is the one [position] he’s least experienced with other than first base, so let him play there a little bit and see what it looks like and learn from there.”
Chicago selected Baez ninth overall in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Photo: USA Today Sports