Cubs' Maddon responds to Hurdle's critical remarks about Baez

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez yells Wednesday after he hit a three-run homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez yells Wednesday after he hit a three-run homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Associated Press

  • Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez high-fives manager Joe Maddon after he hit a three-run homer Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez high-fives manager Joe Maddon after he hit a three-run homer Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/13/2018 3:24 PM

Maybe now it's over.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon had his say Friday about the verbal dust-up started by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle about Cubs infielder Javier Baez.

 

On Thursday morning, Hurdle questioned Baez's "respect for the game" after Baez flipped his bat in anger over popping a ball up in Wednesday night's game at Wrigley Field.

Baez defended himself after Thursday's game, saying people who wanted to talk about him should "save it."

On Friday, Maddon was asked about it.

"I was surprised by it," Maddon said. "I did not see it coming at all. Clint and I have had a great relationship. I've known him for many, many years. I don't really understand why he did what he did.

"I think most of the time when you hear critical commentary, it's really pretty much self-evaluation. It's about what you believe. It's about your judgmental component. It reveals you more than it reveals the person you're talking about. I've always believed that. Whenever you want to be hyper critical of somebody, just understand you're pretty much revealing yourself and what your beliefs are more than you are being critical or evaluating somebody because you not spent one second in that person's skin."

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Maddon said he was proud of how Baez handled the situation.

After Thursday's game, Baez said: "I bust my (butt) every day to play hard. I don't think (anyone) plays this game harder than me. I respect 90 (feet down the baseline). You don't go out there and talk trash about someone."

On the night of the bat flip, Baez said a teammate talked to him about it and that he had learned from it.

That brought another response from Maddon.

"Give young people an opportunity to make some mistakes," he said. "The mistakes of youth are preferable to the wisdom of old age any day of the week."

High praise indeed:

While praising Javier Baez's overall game, Maddon related a conversation he had with Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams.

"Even Billy Williams walking out the door yesterday told me he runs the bases like Willie Mays," Maddon said, referring to Baez. "I said that a couple days ago. People thought I was nuts. I didn't even ask Billy for that comment, but Billy offered it up walking out the door. So I thought, 'Billy knows what that looks like.'"

Out of the comfort zone:

Kris Bryant, the Cubs' everyday third baseman, started Friday at first base against the Braves. The Cubs have been making do at first base while Anthony Rizzo finishes a stint on the disabled list with lower-back tightness. Joe Maddon said Rizzo should be fine to come off the DL Monday, when he is eligible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bryant appeared in two games last year at first base, and he entered this year with 12 career appearances at first. He talked about being happy to get out of his comfort zone.

"I might look comfortable, but I kind of strive being uncomfortable just because it's the only way to make progress, anywhere from taking cold showers to putting yourself out of that comfort zone is big, especially in sports," he said. "You never want to feel like you're comfortable because that's where you start to go backward."

Hey, Buddy, congrats:

Joe Maddon began his pregame news conference by congratulating Class AAA Iowa manager Marty Pevey on his 1,000th victory, which came Thursday.

"That's pretty cool," Maddon said. "Spending so much time in the minor leagues myself, I know what that feels like. He's a great partner. In spring training he does a wonderful job in so many different arenas. So I know it's big for him and his family. I want to recognize that first of all."

Pevey is in his 10th year in the Cubs organization and in his sixth year as Iowa's manager.

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