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Baez's bat generates buzz around Cubs' camp

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Baez's bat generates buzz around Cubs' camp play video for Baez's bat generates buzz around Cubs' camp

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria wasn't surprised that Javier Baez's left ankle hurt when he fouled a ball off it on Wednesday.

"I was saying to him, 'If the ball came off the bat like a normal human being's ball comes off the bat, you would've been OK,'" Renteria said Thursday, "'But since yours comes off like a bullet train, I would've gone down, too.'"

Baez lay on the ground for a few seconds, but stayed in the game. In his next at-bat, he hit an opposite-field home run. Guess he was feeling OK.

"That was a great at-bat," Renteria said of the home run in the Cubs' loss to the Rockies. "Once he got to two strikes, the approach is significantly important. Most times, guys like Javy still want to drive the ball, but he's capable of driving the ball to any part of the ballpark."

It's all part of the development process for Baez, who will open the 2014 season at shortstop for Triple-A Iowa. He's been working at second and third as well in early sessions with coach Gary Jones, and Renteria said they will start Baez in a game at one of those positions soon.

The Cubs' top prospect, Baez has been the center of attention this spring.

"It's great -- great for Javy, great for the Cubs," Renteria said. "He's an exciting player, as you guys all have seen. It's not like you can hide it."

And he does hit the ball hard, which is why Renteria cringed a little when he saw Baez on the ground after the foul ball.

"When he went down, I didn't know if it was his foot or shin," Renteria said. "I just know the ball comes off his bat hot and it must have hurt wherever it hit."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["prospect" ,"spring_training" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ,"spring_training" ] }
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