ST. LOUIS - When Javy Baez was scratched from the Cubs' lineup Saturday, it understandably sent shock waves through the fanbase.
Any time Baez misses, it's a huge deal, as he's arguably the most important player on the Cubs roster.
But this was even more cause for concern given it's the same heel injury he's been dealing with for two weeks and the Cubs just had a day off Thursday.
Less than 24 hours later, Baez is back in the lineup and at shortstop again for Sunday's series finale against the Cardinals. Joe Maddon talked Saturday about the possibility of Baez playing third base when he returns to the lineup, to reduce the lateral movement in the field, which is when the heel really acts up.
It was Baez who went to Maddon to let the Cubs manager know his heel was bugging him before Saturday's game - an indication the foot must be a real issue. But things took a turn for the positive throughout the Cubs' 7-4 loss amid a rain delay that stretched to nearly four hours.
"I talked to him after the game last night - he said, 'I want to play,'" Maddon said. "I said, 'OK, you want to play third?' He said, 'No, I want to play shortstop.' I'll just keep a close eye on him. I know it's not 100 percent, but that's just who he is, so I'll just watch him. He wants to play, he said he's ready to go, so we'll just do that."
Maddon has lauded Baez's toughness often and last year's NL MVP runner-up never wants to come out of the lineup, even when he's banged up. So the onus is on Maddon and the Cubs' coaching and training staff to determine if it's worth the risk for Baez to play.
The last thing this team wants or needs right now is to lose their star player for an extended period of time while they're in the midst of a 2-7 stretch. But the Cubs also have hopes of playing deep into October again this season and they don't want to risk any long-term injury to Baez, either.
Maddon insisted the heel injury is not affecting Baez's offense at the moment and the Cubs training staff has not instituted any restrictions.
"You talk to the trainers and the medical people [in addition to the player]. Everybody's fine," Maddon said. "I had him in the lineup [Saturday] before I had to take him out. And then actually game-in-progress, he started to feel better based on the treatment.
"This is a decision I will listen to the player with. Again - based on the medical reconnaissance, too. I feel good about it, but I do want to watch him."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.