Cubs shortstop Javy Báez exited Saturday’s game vs. the Pirates after the seventh inning due to low back tightness, manager David Ross said.
Ross said Báez’ back was bothering him throughout the game, possibly due to the cold weather. The tightness popped up early on and Báez thought he could play through it.
As the game progressed, Ross decided it was best to get Báez out of there.
“I saw him moving a little bit stiff out there,” Ross said. “I finally had enough of giving him some leash.
“He just wasn’t moving well, and it doesn’t make sense to push him there. We got all that action going on. The bench is short."
Had Báez stayed in, the Cubs risked his condition worsening, as well as having no infielders to replace him if it did. Ildemaro Vargas and Matt Duffy both pinch hit in the seventh, including Vargas for Eric Sogard, Saturday's starting second baseman.
Vargas stayed in and took over for Báez at short. Ross talked to a trainer after the game, a 3-2 Cubs win, and said things are clearing up with Báez’ back.
“We’ll see how it presents tomorrow, but [pulling him was] just precautionary,” Ross said.
Báez, 29, missed a few games last month with a left hamstring injury. He's batting .257/.291/.523 with eight home runs and an NL-leading 25 RBIs this season.