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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Top-pick Baez checks out Wrigley Field

By Chris Silva

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs' No. 9 pick in the June amateur draft, was in town on Saturday to sign his contract and tour Wrigley Field.

The 18-year-old Baez, a Puerto Rican native who played high school ball in Jacksonville, Fla., received a $2.66 million bonus as part of the $12 million the Cubs spent on all of this year’s draft picks, the most the organization has ever committed to a draft.

Baez, an infielder, said he’ll leave Sunday to prepare for the Arizona Fall League. He first said he didn’t have a timeline for when he wanted to reach the majors -- “I’m only 18,” he said -- but later said he hoped to be here in two years.

Baez, who addressed reporters as ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’, said he feels comfortable playing anywhere in the infield. He was ranked as the seventh best overall position player in the draft by “Baseball America” and the fifth best high school player. He’s familiar with catcher Geovany Soto, who played with his older brother, Orlando, but does not know much about the Cubs. Even so, he said he was excited to get to work.

“I can’t even tell you (how excited I am) right now,” he said with a smile.