Renteria: Hype won't get to Baez

August, 7, 2014
8/07/14
2:42
PM CT
By Brent W. New
special to ESPNChicago.com
Archive
DENVER -- If you're worried that the giant microscope following Javier Baez around will eventually burn him, he says, "I'm ready for anything."

And that's good enough for Rick Renteria, whose new second baseman will make his Wrigley Field debut on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Baez
"I think he'll be fine," Renteria said. "This is a very mature young man. He probably appreciates [the excitement], but I think he has a grasp, hopefully, to separate the nuances of everything that's around him and and just stay within himself and stay focused on the game. And I think he will."

The 21-year-old Baez hit a game-winning home run in the 12th inning to beat Colorado on Tuesday, but has failed to record another hit since, starting off 1-for-10 in his big-league career.

Of course the Cubs' brass isn't worried about it. They predicted these struggles.

"He's a young man. He's still going to have his struggles. He's going to have great days, bad days, good days and not so good days. But it's all a part of the process," Renteria said of Baez, who batted .194 in April at Triple-A Iowa but batted over .300 in his last month there. "That's why he's [in the majors]. And probably dealing with all the fan affection will be a part of the process also which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, you know, we all have to keep perspective and hopefully have a good balance in dealing with all those things."

Fujikawa update: The second most crowded-around locker in Colorado was that of Kyuji Fujikawa, who returned from Tommy John surgery to pitch one inning in Wednesday night's 13-4 loss.

When asked if the 34-year-old has a chance to close this season for the Cubs, Renteria said: "I can't rule it out."

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BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
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OTHER LEADERS
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RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167