#Cubs option Baez to Triple-A Iowa

If you only saw Javier Baez play defense at second base or run the bases, you’d be convinced he’s ready for the big leagues. But Baez still has work to do at the plate, and the young infielder was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Monday.

“He’s so close to getting it figured out in the batter’s box, we feel Triple-A is the right venue for him to continue to make those adjustments and get locked in,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “He does everything else so well on the baseball field. He’s a winning baseball player, and has to take that same mindset into the batter’s box. We feel he’s not far from making it.”

In 16 games this spring, Baez was batting .173 with 20 strikeouts in 52 at-bats. Last season, he was promoted to the big leagues, and batted .169 with 95 Ks in 213 at-bats. Cubs hitting coach John Mallee and manager Joe Maddon both went to Puerto Rico to start working with Baez this winter.

“He knows he has to get better offensively,” Maddon said Monday. “I said, as a 22-year-old baseball player, you might be the most accomplished 22-year-old I’ve ever been on the field with as far as defense, base running. The part that has to get better is the offense and he agreed, he totally agreed.”

— Carrie Muskat

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