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After getting hit by a pitch on Friday, Javier Baez returned to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday for batting practice.
The Chicago Cubs made minimal moves this Hot Stove season, with the exceptions being the signings of pitcher Jake Arrieta and outfielder Joc Pederson. While in cost-cutting mode, the Cubs do stand a chance of contending for a postseason spot this season. However, they suffered a bit of a scare in the early goings of spring training.
In the third inning of Friday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez was struck in the right forearm by a pitch and sidelined for the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons.
Luckily for the Cubs, Baez was diagnosed with a bruise and was expected to be an active participant in team batting practice on Saturday.
Cubs: Javier Baez dodged a bullet after being hit by pitch
Baez is coming off an uncharacteristically down season with the Cubs in 2020. He played in 59-of-60 regular-season games and only managed to slash .203/.238/.360 along with eight home runs, 24 RBI, 27 runs scored and 45 hits. Granted, there were a bunch of big-name stars who had down seasons, mostly because of the shortened campaign.
After this season, Baez is set to hit the open market in a loaded shortstop class. Players like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are all set to become free agents at the end of the season. The market was officially set not too long ago after Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a 14-year, $340 million contract at the age of 22. Baez won’t get the years that Tatis got due to him turning 29 this upcoming December, but could command a high annual salary if he were to rebound in 2021.
Even with a huge contract looming, Baez let it be known that he would like to spend the remainder of his career with the Cubs. That puts even more pressure on the organization to get a deal done.
The last thing the Cubs needed entering the 2021 season is their star middle infielder being put on the shelf long-term. Luckily, everything appears to be just fine. It will remain to be seen how soon he will be able to take the field.