Javier Baez blasts another into the street

CHICAGO – At this rate, Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez may never hit a home run in Wrigley Field. As for landing a few outside the Friendly Confines, well, he’s got that part down.

“You want to see every one of that kid’s at-bats,” starter Jake Arrieta said after Baez hit a ball onto the street beyond the left field bleachers on Friday. “I don’t know if many of his home runs will touch seats here, honestly.”

It was Baez’s second career home run at home and second to leave the park entirely. This one came on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning of a 4-1 win over the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The ball hugged the left-field foul line before leaving the stadium.

“I hit it pretty good,” Baez said afterward. “I didn’t know if it was going to be fair or foul.”

He hit it so far that ESPN Stats and Information still doesn’t have a distance on it. His first one went 432 feet. There will be many more tape-measure home runs before Baez's career is over.

“It’s starting to get to the point, even though it’s early in his career, that nothing really surprises me with what he does at the plate,” Arrieta said. “Everyone knows if he connects with that swing he’s going to hit it a long way.”

Baez continues to strike out at a high rate – he whiffed four times Thursday but just once Friday – but he’s just fine with it. You have to take the good with the bad.

“I’m not afraid to strike out,” Baez said. “I’m going to keep swinging the bat.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to work at it. After a rough game the day before, Baez went to the coaches to work on some things.

“The guy (on Thursday) threw me all fastballs … up in the zone,” Baez explained. “I asked them to get the machine and hit fastballs early today (Friday). I get mad at myself because I’m swinging at bad pitches.”

The extra work paid off in the form of his sixth home run of the season and second to leave the stadium. It won’t be the last.