Javy Báez told reporters after Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati that he had accepted an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby again, but that he’s no longer sure he’ll be able to. It was evident during Saturday’s game that his right heel was still bothering him, particularly when he broke it down rather gingerly after running out an infield single.
He appeared to come up lame again after ranging to his left to field a grounder and stepping awkwardly as he bobbled the ball, though some of that can also be attributed to disappointment at having not made the play. Either way, he admitted Sunday that lingering pain is still an issue.
‘‘My heel has been bothering me, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on it,’’ said Báez, who got a scheduled rest day in part because of the heel and also because his All-Star start means less rest.
The heel issue has been around for well over a month now and figures to be one of those nagging issues that won’t go away without significant rest. Javy’s slashing just .238/.273/.483 with just a 91 wRC+ since May 19, when he first injured it, though his big moments have largely overshadowed the plummeting performance. Those numbers are up over the last two weeks, but only slightly, so a little rest can’t hurt.
Javy said he’ll wait until after the Pittsburgh series to decide what to do about the Derby, but you have to think the Cubs are hoping he’ll decline. Maybe they’ll do more than hope. The All-Star festivities would be better with Javy in them, but the Cubs may be better with Javy out of most of the All-Star festivities.
I’ll be watching either way, but I’m perfectly happy rooting for the field against Christian Yelich if Javy indeed declines.