MESA, Ariz. -– As much as your curiosity might want to fast-track the Chicago Cubs prospects to the big leagues, common sense says patience is the better virtue.
Before shortstop Javier Baez homered in Saturday’s 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, manager Dale Sveum said he and Jorge Soler were just days from being cut. It’s no surprise, but when Baez and Soler perform, it does whet your appetite for the day they’ll play at Wrigley Field.
After David DeJesus doubled to right to lead off the game, Baez came up thinking about getting him over. He did more than just that.
“I was thinking hit the ball to the right side, but it was off-speed, so I hit it pretty good to center,” the soft-spoken Baez said of his home run.
Baez singled in his next at-bat but was promptly picked off, perhaps as a reminder that he’s still very young and “raw,” as Sveum put it.
“They know I can play the game, but I still have to learn a lot of things,” Baez said. “How to slow the game down and get used to getting a good pitch to hit.”
The first-round pick of 2011 raised his spring training average to .360, but it probably won’t change anything about where he‘ll start the season: near the bottom of the minor league totem pole.
“I’m ready for whatever they want me to do,” Baez said.
So are Cubs fans.
Jesse Rogers covers the Cubs for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.