Hoyer on Baez's first week: 'As expected'

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and Javier Baez are trying to find that "happy medium" at the plate as he begins his second week in the big leagues. So far, the reviews have been mixed.

"There's been some high-highs and been some lows," general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday before the Cubs played the Milwaukee Brewers. "We'll probably settle in the middle at some point."

The highs have been some hard-hit balls, including three home runs in his first three games. But then came the strikeouts. He has 10 over the past five games but just one since Sunday. Overall, he's hitting .243 with three home runs and 13 strikeouts. His on-base percentage is the same as his batting average.

"More than anything he needs to [pick] a zone that he's able to create some damage with," manager Rick Renteria said. "That’s a process. He's a man trying to show everyone he belongs here. It's a fine line."

Baez has yet to earn a walk and he knows he's swinging out of the zone at times but each day is a learning experience. He knows walks will help keep the opposing pitcher honest. Renteria was asked if he's instructing Baez to earn the free pass when it's there.

"It's got to be in a subtle way," he said. "It takes a little time."

Time is what the Cubs and Baez have right now. Calling him up now gives him about 45 days to get his feet wet, in Hoyer's estimation.

"This is why he's here," Hoyer said. "So he can play every day and have those experiences. … I think you see the talent and the things he does well. He'll keep learning."

As for his defense, the Cubs are more than pleased with Baez's transition to second base. Hoyer reminded reporters that former Cub Darwin Barney also converted from shortstop.

"Barney was playing second base for three-quarters of a year," Hoyer said. "We noted things he wanted to work on. [Then] he was the best defender at second base for the next two years.

"It takes time to get comfortable there. I think once Javier gets comfortable there he's going to be a really elite second baseman."