Cubs confirm thumb fracture for Baez

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs confirmed Thursday that top infield prospect Javier Baez has a non-displaced fracture at the tip of his left thumb and will not play again in the Arizona Fall League.

Baez, who reached as high as Single-A Daytona this past season, was among the youngest players in the AFL at age 19. The shortstop, who was also getting some time at third base, was the team's first-round pick in the 2011 draft.

Baez played his last game Saturday, although general manager Jed Hoyer said the injury likely happened during a game Friday.

“It sounded like it was a celebratory high five or some kind of thing,” Hoyer said. “They don’t know exactly when he did it, but it was some sort of odd non-baseball-playing injury. It certainly wasn’t anything negative. He didn’t punch a wall or anything, but it sounds like he was celebrating and hit it wrong and that’s how it happened.”

Baez was selected to the AFL Rising Stars game, which takes place Saturday, despite a .211 batting average in 14 games. He was among the league leaders, though, with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

“He’s obviously not going to play anymore in the fall league but he’s not in a lot of pain, according to the trainer’s reports,” Hoyer said. “It’s unfortunate. He had some really good moments in the fall league but he also had some really good learning moments.”

Baez is expected to be completely healthy by the time spring training begins in February.

“The injury won’t hinder anything going forward,” Hoyer said. “It’s just unfortunate that he’ll miss the development.”

With Baez out of the Rising Stars game, the Cubs’ lone representative will be pitcher Tony Zych, a St. Rita High School graduate, who has a 2.25 ERA in eight appearances with the Mesa Silver Sox.