The Chicago Cubs added one of their best young power hitters back into the fold on Friday as they officially activated Javier Baez from the 15-day disabled list.
Baez, who was out of the lineup with a left thumb contusion that he suffered during spring training, went 4-for-15 in a rehab stint with Triple-A Iowa over the past week, and he’s been activated as the Cubs’ offense has been off to a red-hot start.
To make room for Baez on the active roster, the Cubs have optioned Munenori Kawasaki back to the minor leagues.
With Baez’s return to the mix, the Cubs will likely look to him to fill a super-utility role reminiscent of the one that Ben Zobrist filled for the Tampa Bay Rays while Joe Maddon was their manager. Baez has shown that he can play any infield position well, and he’s also taken reps in center field during spring training to help maximize his effectiveness.
It would not be surprising to see Baez get some starts at third base this season, with Kris Bryant getting time in left or right field. Baez will also be a back-up option for both Addison Russell and Zobrist this season, so he should expect to get quite a few at-bats as Maddon looks to keep everyone fresh in the early part of the season.