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Cubs send Javy Baez to minor-league camp

Updated: March 22, 2014 10:49PM



MESA, Ariz. – And then there were none.

When the Cubs sent shortstop Javy Baez to minor-league camp in another round of spring cuts Saturday, they turned out the last of their brightest lights in camp, the last remaining member of their Fab Four prospects to get cut.

Baez, Baseball America’s fifth-ranked prospect, said he wasn’t disappointed.

“Not really,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys. I understand.”

Baez, 21, hit .310 with a team-leading five home runs and a 1.048 OPS. He also was one shy of the team lead with 13 strikeouts and didn’t have a walk. He didn’t have a hit in 13 tries with men on base.

“A lot of times we don’t need home runs,” Baez said. “We just need an RBI or a bunt. So it’s not all about home runs and hitting the ball hard.”

Regardless of how much service-time issues come into play compared to performance, many expect Baez to make his big-league debut sometime this summer.

“I think he’s made a lot of progress,” manager Rick Renteria said. “One of the things we’ve talked about, to make sure he understands, is to continue to work on his defense, to go down there and put together some good at-bats, try to get on base a little bit more, do the process, and just go out there and be professional.

“He’s been hustling, busting his rear end this spring, and he’s looked good.”

His departure assures another season that will start with the Cubs’ most exciting players in the minors. Baez joined Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.

If there was a consolation for Baez, he was fine Saturday, the day after he left a game because of a bruised heel suffered running out a grounder.

Seven players in all were cut Saturday, leaving the roster at 37.

Six, including Baez, were reassigned to minor-league camp. The others were pitchers Chang-Yong Lim, Brian Schlitter, and Jonathan Sanchez, infielder Chris Valaika and outfielder Casper Wells.

Right-hander Blake Parker, who had a 2.72 ERA in 49 relief appearances last year, was optioned to Iowa.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



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