Cubs’ Baez flexing his muscles
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MESA, Ariz. — Javier Baez continues to put on a show for the Cubs.
The 20-year-old shortstop followed up his 2-homer performance Friday against Team Japan with 2 more in Saturday's 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals at HoHoKam Park.
Baez homered in his final 2 at-bats Friday, including a "called shot" to win the game, before homering in Saturday's first inning off veteran lefty Bruce Chen. Not only did that give Baez 3 straight homers, it gave him 3 homers on three pitches.
After he hit a deep flyout in the third inning, he crushed a ball from Chen to way over the wall in left field.
"He's special," said bench coach Jamie Quirk, who ran this squad while manager Dale Sveum oversaw a 5-1 victory over Texas in Las Vegas. "That's why he was drafted where he was (first round in 2011), and hopefully he just keeps doing what he's doing and time will tell when he gets here. But he's pretty special."
For the spring, Baez has a line of .324/.343/.706 on 11-for-34 hitting with 4 homers and 8 RBI. The Cubs won't rush Baez to the major leagues; he will get some more at-bats here before being sent back to minor-league camp.
On Baez's called shot Friday, Quirk said: "He heard about it today."
Baez was playing things decidedly low-key.
"I'm seeing the ball pretty good," he said, falling back on a tried-and-true cliché.
Baez is a nonroster invitee to spring training. He said the decision on where he goes is not his, but he did say he had one goal.
"My goal was just to show them I can play the game hard every day and come to play every day," he said.
No action for Jackson:
Center fielder Brett Jackson will rest his ailing right shoulder a week after an MRI on Friday revealed inflammation.
Jackson a left-handed batter who throws right-handed, has been bothered by soreness in the shoulder, and he was a late lineup scratch Friday.
"Good, it's just a little minor thing," Jackson said Saturday. "Just be cautious with a couple weeks left."
Jackson is 5-for-16 in the Cactus League with a double, 2 triples, 5 walks and 5 strikeouts. After he struck out 59 times in 120 big-league at-bats last year after his August call-up, the Cubs worked with him this off-season to lower his hands in his batting stance.
The plan has been to have him start this season at Class AAA Iowa.
"I'm going to keep working every day," he said. "Obviously, No. 1 is to get 100 percent healthy again. I'm confident enough that we're going to take care of that quickly. When I'm back, we'll focus on what's next."
What happened in Vegas:
Jeff Samardzija pitched 5 shutout innings in the Cubs' victory over the Rangers. Samardzija (2-0, 3.68 ERA), the opening-day starter, walked one and struck out three.
Scott Hairston hit his second homer of the spring. Steve Clevenger, bidding to make the team as a utility man, went 2-for-4, playing first base and third base.
He's 11-for-29 (.379) this spring.
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