Javier Baez 'mad' he won't make it to his first Opening Day

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs infielder/outfielder Javier Baez is disappointed a contusion on his left thumb will keep him from being on the active roster for Opening Day.

“I’m mad I’m losing my first Opening Day, but, you know, I feel good,” he said on Wednesday. “I hit two days in a row. When they come back (to Arizona) I’ll be ready.”

Baez said he didn’t try to talk the team out of placing him on the disabled list though he indicated several days ago he was healthy. At this point, the issue isn’t the thumb so much as he hasn’t had enough at-bats to get ready. Baez hurt himself two weeks ago sliding head first into first base. It’s the second time in as many years he’s incurred a hand injury sliding head first.

“I think it’s an instinctive thing where you want to reach for the bag with your hands,” manager Joe Maddon stated. “First of all, run through the bag at first base. You don’t have to slide.”

Baez will stay in Arizona to get at-bats while the team plays exhibition games three of the next four days before opening the season in Anaheim on Monday. He’ll be eligible to come off the disabled list next Saturday when the Cubs are in the midst of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then they head to Chicago for their home opener on April 11.

“I’ll be there when we go to Chicago,” Baez said. “We’re all on the same page. We don’t want to rush anything.”