Compared to the other injury news we've received recently from other top prospects, that headline would make us assume the worse, but in reality, things aren't as bad as they sound. Cubs top prospect Javier Baez sprained his ankle during batting practice on Friday and didn't play over the weekend, reports Daren Smith of MiLB.com. He was placed on the minor league disabled list.
Injuries are never good, but this one appears minor. Ankle injuries can linger, but Baez has no history of injuries or ankle problems. Additionally, the minor league disabled list is only seven days, and he's already sat out two games, meaning he could be back by the weekend if he's ready.
Baez was just getting his bat going after starting the season 1-for-18 with eight strikeouts with his on Wednesday and Thursday, including his second home run of the season. Pacific Coast League pitchers had been able to exploit his aggressiveness at the plate in the early going, but Baez was showing signs of making adjustments before the injury.
Sometimes, a week off can be a good thing in a situation like this. Stepping back and watching the game from afar for a few days can be a nice way to reset the mind and get back to what has brought a player success in the past. Certainly the injury isn't a good thing, but assuming it isn't terribly serious and has no longering affects, it could be a blessing in disguise.
For Baez, the next two months are about getting his swing right for a call-up in June. Starlin Castro is playing well right now and the Cubs are getting good production from second base thanks to Emilio Bonifacio hitting about a billion in the early going, but neither will keep Baez from getting called up once the super-two deadline passes. Struggles at the Triple-A level or the lingering affects from this injury, however, could set his timetable back.
Neither is a major concern right now, however, and neither should be expected. Unless something else happens, this injury should be but a minor blip on the radar for Baez, and the time off could serve as a chance to reset his season from a rough first week, get back to where he was last year, and continue his assent to Wrigley Field.