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Javier Baez to add another position to versatile game

MESA, Ariz. – As long as Javier Baez takes to the position this spring, he’ll be the primary backup to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, according to manager Joe Maddon. It means Baez could be the primary backup for about five positions. First base it just the latest.

“I played two innings last year,” Baez said. “I don’t think it’s that hard. It’s not harder than shortstop.”

By the end of spring training the team hopes Baez can play every position on the field, save pitcher and catcher. He spent the winter learning the outfield and with the departure of Chris Coghlan via trade on Thursday, Baez will get more time at first.

“I don’t have a first baseman’s glove,” he said. “I borrowed Kris Bryant’s last year. If I need one, I’ll get one.”

Baez is the super sub in the same way Ben Zobrist used to perform that job for Maddon in Tampa Bay. Baez has already played first, second, shortstop and third base in the big leagues and is getting good reviews for his work in center field so far. And now when Rizzo gets a rare day off it might be Baez who takes over at first with Bryant backing him up.

“I’ll be ready for wherever,” Baez said. “I’m still young and I’m going to find out what I can do.”