Joe Maddon sees a sense of purpose in Cubs camp from Javy Baez.
Baez — the breakout star of the postseason — was in the starting lineup hitting leadoff and playing second base Sunday in his final game with the Cubs before leaving to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
It's the sixth spring game for Baez out of the Cubs' nine days of Cactus League action and he's picked up where he left off, making dazzling plays in the field and showing off that all-world bat speed as he gears up to play for his home country.
A thumb injury kept Baez from joining the Cubs at the start of the 2016 season, so this would represent the spring training leading up to his first full season in the big leagues.
[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]
Still, Maddon doesn't see any issue with Baez leaving to spend the next couple weeks with Puerto Rico.
"He knows what we're doing here," Maddon said before Sunday's game. "Watch him play; he's been playing deeper into the game. You see how well he's been playing, how hard he's been playing.
"He came here with a purpose to get ready for this. I have no problem with it. We are really simple with our methods, so he's already gotten all the layers he needs — what we do as a group, as a team defensively, offensively. He's gotten everything that we do."
Of course, Maddon and the Cubs will be monitoring Baez's health in the WBC, but they're not worried about him missing time given it's his third spring with this coaching staff.
"He's a big boy," Maddon said. "He gets it."