PHOENIX — Cubs fans will get to see phenoms Javier Baez and Jorge Soler at least one more day in Cactus League games.
They’ll play Monday against the Padres in Peoria, Ariz., even though they’ll be part of roster cuts.
Baez, who went on a home run tear over the weekend — belting 4 — will be assigned to the minor-league camp after showing his stuff as a nonroster player. Pitcher Barret Loux also will be assigned to the minor leagues.
Soler, who is on the 40-man roster, will be optioned to Class A Daytona, where he’ll likely be joined by Baez once final assignments are made.
Third baseman Josh Vitters will be optioned to Class AAA Iowa as will infielder-outfielder Junior Lake. Third baseman Christian Villanueva will be optioned to Class AA Tennessee.
Baez started at shortstop and batted second in Sunday’s 12-6 loss to the Oakland Athletics. For the spring, he’s 13-for-39 with the 4 homers and 9 RBI. He was the Cubs’ first-round draft choice in 2011.
“He’s still got to face a lot of right-handed pitching,” manager Dale Sveum told reporters in Las Vegas, where the Cubs lost to Texas 8-5 in a split-squad game. “There’s a lot to be learned and a lot to be learned at the plate when you’re going to face right-handed pitching constantly — sliders, and all that stuff — and know you’ll get quite a few of them and how you’re going to react.”
Soler is 8-for-32 with 1 homer and 3 RBI. The Cubs signed him last summer to a major-league contract through 2020.
Taking bad with good:
Right-hander Scott Baker started against the A’s. He was scheduled for 2 innings, but he lasted just one-third and six batters as he was charged with 3 runs.
Baker is coming off Tommy John surgery, performed April 17. This was his first Cactus League appearance. The Cubs are hoping for a mid-April regular-season debut.
“Results are one thing, but getting back out there and pitching in front of fans was something I haven’t done yet, so it’s exciting to get out there and do that today,” he said. “I felt like I made some decent pitches. Occasionally I got a little jumpy and left the ball up a little bit. I was happy to be out there. It’s another step. You go back and work on the things that, regardless of whether you had surgery or not, you work on those things mechanically and just go get them next time.”
Baker gave up a 3-run homer to Chris Young.
“Yeah, I was throwing all the pitches today,” he said. “Did I locate as well as I would like to? No. That’s still part of the process also. It’s another step. The results weren’t there. Physically, I did everything I could to prepare for this outing, and that’s going to continue to be the case. As long as I continue to progress and build the pitch count up, we’re still shooting for that mid-April time frame.”
Time running out:
Third baseman Ian Stewart will undergo an MRI on his left quad Monday so the Cubs can gauge his progress from an ailment that has hobbled him all spring.
Stewart got at-bats in a minor-league game last week, but he could not go Sunday. With Opening Day two weeks away, it’s going to be tough for Stewart to have enough time to be ready.
“I don’t know if he’s got enough time,” Dale Sveum said in Las Vegas. “It’ll be interesting.”
Luis Valbuena, who played third base most of the second half last year, is the favorite to open the season if Stewart can’t play. The Cubs also will check the waiver wire, Sveum said.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.