Cubs call up Javier Baez
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The Cubs' first-round pick in 2011, Baez, ranked by ESPN.com's Keith Law as the eighth-best prospect in baseball, has recovered from a slow start in his first season at Triple-A Iowa. After batting just .172 in April, Baez has trended up each month since.
In the 20 games following the Triple-A All-Star break, he hit .342 with nine homers and a 1.159 OPS. He batted .300 with 10 home runs in July and hit his 22nd and 23 home runs on Sunday. For the season, the 21-year-old Baez is slashing .260/.323/.510 with 80 RBIs.
A shortstop for much of his career, Baez, who hit 37 home runs between Class A and Double-A last season, has played more second base lately in anticipation of a big league call-up because the Cubs have three-time All-Star Starlin Castro entrenched at short.
"He's done a great job," Cubs infielder Chris Valaika said, when asked about Baez's position change, according to MLB.com. "I think that transition is really smooth. I think the more he does it, he'll keep getting better and better. That transition has been pretty seamless."
Arismendy Alcantara, a 22-year-old infield prospect called up to the Cubs on July 8, likely will shift from second base to play mostly center field with Baez in the lineup.
Baez played in the Futures Game during the All-Star festivities in Minneapolis, hitting a home run.
"He's a good kid -- what a gamer and a great athlete," Iowa manager Marty Pevey said, according to MLB.com. "It'll be a learning curve for Javy. He'll want to hit every ball 600 feet. He's such a great competitor."