Cubs: Javier Baez returning from leave of absence


PITTSBURGH – The Cubs expect Javier Baez to return from his leave of absence on Thursday and report to the team’s complex in Arizona.

Baez has been spending time with his family after the death of his younger sister, Noely, on April 8. That was the day before Triple-A Iowa’s season started.

[SHOP: Get the latest Cubs gear here]

Noely had been born with spina bifida and made it to the age of 21, becoming an inspirational figure for Baez as he pursued a career in professional baseball.

Baez, 22, didn’t make the team out of spring training and missed another window to impress during what must have been a difficult grieving process. The Cubs called up top prospect Addison Russell from Iowa this week to take over at second base.

The Cubs like a lot about Baez and his game — the speed, up-the-middle defense and baseball IQ — but they will need to see him make adjustments at the plate and cut down on the strikeouts. The road back begins now for Baez.