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updated: 7/22/2014 10:50 PM

Cubs say Barney, Baez moves not connected

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  • The Cubs removed veteran Darwin Barney from their roster, designating the second baseman for assignment as they activated Emilio Bonifacio off the disabled list.

      The Cubs removed veteran Darwin Barney from their roster, designating the second baseman for assignment as they activated Emilio Bonifacio off the disabled list.
    Associated Press

  • Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) and left fielder Junior Lake celebrates after their baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Chicago, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The Cubs won the game 6-0.

      Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) and left fielder Junior Lake celebrates after their baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Chicago, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The Cubs won the game 6-0.
    Associated Press

 
 

It might be easy to connect the dots and say that Tuesday's move by the Cubs to designate second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment is related to prospect Javier Baez moving from shortstop to second base.

General manager Jed Hoyer said that's not the case.

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Baez, one of the top prospects in baseball, recently moved from short to second. In Monday's game for Class AAA Iowa, Baez extended a hitting streak to 15 games.

"The Baez-second-base thing is really more big picture than anything else," Hoyer said. "We want to increase his versatility regardless of anything. We just started putting him there. These moves are not connected. That said, with a lot of our guys, we're going to start moving them around and see what they can do at different spots.

At the big-league level, the Cubs will use Emilio Bonifacio and recently called-up rookie Arismendy Alcantara at second, with Alcantara also playing center field. Bonifacio came off the disabled list Tuesday after battling an oblique injury for more than a month.

"With Alcantara, it's really easy; he's so versatile," Hoyer said of moving around the field. "Baez has only been a shortstop, so it's going to take a little longer. The initial reports on his defense at second base have been really good."

Hoyer added there are no immediate plans to move top prospect Kris Bryant from third base to right field.

"It's something we've talked about internally," he said. "He can do it. He played center in college. He's played right, and he feels good out there. I think with him, the biggest focus for him right now is he's working on his defense.

"He's almost 6-6. With that, the fundamentals of playing third base are more challenging. Having him work there, that's really a focus for him, just working on third base. In the future, I would never say never that we wouldn't put him out there, but right now, our focus is third."

Missing Barney:

Darwin Barney came up to the Cubs in 2010. as did reliever James Russell and shortstop Starlin Castro. Russell said it was hard to see Barney being cut.

"Me and Dar were drafted both in '07, and I've played every year in professional baseball with Barney playing behind me," Russell said. "So it's definitely sad to see him leave, especially (since) he just had a another little baby girl. His family was just now getting settled in here. It's time to start a new chapter for him.

"You know he's going to play hard every day he's out there. He's definitely got the Gold Glove to go with it. Just in the clubhouse, he's one of the dudes. He's easy to hang out with."

Filling in the rotation:

After Kyle Hendricks started Tuesday night against the Padres, the Cubs will bring lefty Tsuyoshi Wada up from Iowa to start Wednesday. For both Hendricks and Wada, it's their second big-league start.

Hendricks has been penciled into the No. 4 spot in the rotation, and Jed Hoyer said he envisions Wada staying at No. 5.

"We'd like it to be for the foreseeable future," Hoyer said. "We have some options down there. (Dallas) Beeler came up and did a good job for us. Chris Rusin's done a good job for us in the past. Dan Straily threw better last night, and obviously, he was in the rotation all year last year for Oakland. We didn't do it for one game."

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