Chicago Cubs' Almora, Baez not thinking about being all-stars
Here's an idea for Major League Baseball: Scrap the home run derby as part of the All-Star Game festivities and just let Javier Baez do magic tricks for about an hour.
Baez made more sparkling defense plays in Saturday's 14-9 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Wrigley Field. He helped Tyler Chatwood end a 4-run Twins outburst in the fifth inning on a groundout and later ranged into the outfield to make a nifty backhand grab of a popout.
But seriously, the Cubs have three serious all-star candidates in Baez, pitcher Jon Lester and center fielder Albert Almora Jr.
Neither Baez nor Almora seemed to be focused at all on being all-stars.
"No," said Baez, who has 16 homers and 59 RBI. "I don't like playing with numbers. That gets to my mind a lot. I try to do everything I can for the All-Star Game but at the same time stay away from the numbers."
Almora raised his batting average to .332, which was good enough to lead the National League before play ended Saturday.
"My plans are on coming back to Chicago after the day game in San Diego (before the all-star break)," Almora said. "If it happens, it would definitely be something special, something I'll cherish with my family and with my teammates. Right now, that's out of my mind."
Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. made a rehab appearance for Class AAA Iowa Friday. He allowed 1 hit and a walk while striking out two in two-thirds of an inning.
"Good one," said manager Joe Maddon. "Two-thirds of an inning, 19 pitches. Velocity was normal. Didn't finish the inning out but wanted him, I guess, right about 20 pitches. Then he should be fine probably tomorrow or the next day pitching again."
Edwards has been on the disabled list since May 30 with right-shoulder inflammation.
Maddon said he hopes pitcher Yu Darvish is feeling better about things after getting a cortisone shot for an impingement in his right elbow. Darvish has been on the DL, effective May 23, with right-triceps tendinitis.
"Hopefully this relaxes his mind a bit, also, moving forward," Maddon said. "Whenever you define a situation, it always helps the human being deal with it better, I think. More definition. I haven't spoken with him yet directly, but once I do, I'll know better. I always believed that once you get whatever is bothering you defined, it normally does help."
This and that:
The Cubs have scored at least 10 runs in a major-league-best 13 games this season, including three straight games for the first time since April 15-17, 2003 … Seventeen singles were the most by the Cubs in a game since Aug. 30, 2006, when they had 17 at Pittsburgh … The Cubs went 16-12 in June.