Cubs' Baez jumps to Rizzo's defense after taunts

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Players from both teams come onto the field in the eighth inning during a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

    Players from both teams come onto the field in the eighth inning during a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

 
 
Updated 5/1/2021 9:28 PM

Javy Baez has jawed with Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett before. So the Cubs are well aware of his personality.

In the eighth inning of Saturday's 3-2 Cubs victory, Garrett struck out Anthony Rizzo and took several steps toward Rizzo, yelling at him the whole time.

 

While Rizzo took a brief glance over his shoulder as he walked away from the plate, Baez jumped over the railing of the Cubs dugout and appeared to challenge the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Garrett to a fight. The benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.

"He got a style. We all get that," Baez said after the game. "But I'm not just going to let him or anyone disrespect my teammates or my team. It was not a big situation (no one on base). I'm going to try to stay professional with this, but it doesn't matter who do it again. Somebody else do it again, we'll go out there again. That's not a problem.

"Like I said, he needs to respect the game, and if he don't respect the game and he don't respect us, then that's going to happen. Because he's doing that to us, he's not doing it to pump their teammates. He's disrespecting us and as long as he do it, we'll be there too."

Garrett was the guy who ran off the mound and charged the Pirates dugout in 2019, so he's no stranger to confrontation.

"He can be 6-7, he can be 10 feet -- we're not afraid of that," Baez said. "We're here to play baseball and win games. We're not here to fight. Even their teammates are not on his side. They know he's wrong. Nobody is going to follow that."

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Cubs manager David Ross chose his words carefully when first asked about Garrett. But eventually he suggested he might have beaten Baez over the railing if he were still a player.

"Javy, I feel like, wants respect in the game and to be disrespected by another player on the field, kind of challenges your manhood," Ross said. "This is a man's game and I think those are things I wouldn't have stood for as a player, that's for sure. I would have been first one in line for that. I can't do that anymore.

"I don't fault any of our guys. That's not the way that I think baseball is intended to go. But I think that's his style. I don't agree with it. I think it's garbage. But he's not on my team."

After jumping the rail, Baez raised his fists as if challenging Garrett to a boxing match. The other Cubs were quick to rush onto the field and keep the players separated.

"If he really wants to fight us that bad, first of all you're in the wrong sport because this is baseball," Baez said. "We're trying to compete. I'm just tired of it. If you really want to fight, then we'll go one-on-one. This is not a fighting game. It's about competing and winning games."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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