Cubs

Joe Maddon believes Javy Baez came to Cubs camp with a purpose

Joe Maddon believes Javy Baez came to Cubs camp with a purpose

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."

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

5-18_arrieta_reds_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: