When infielder Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs learned about critical remarks made by Clint Hurdle the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates about his playing style, the infielder immediately responded back Thursday afternoon.
Baez told reporters that he plays hard every day, following his team’s 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh and added that he did not think anyone played the game harder than he does. He also insisted he respected the game and said that he does not trash talk about anyone and has no control over what others say about him.
Just hours earlier prior to the start of Thursday’s game, Hurdle’s comments were critical of the way Baez flipped his bat the night before following a pop out during the seventh inning.
Hurdle said there was no respect for the game when someone flips the bat like that. The Pirates skipper said that the guy (Baez) hits four home runs in two games so that gives you the right to flip your bat 20 feet into the air on a pop up, like saying you should have connected for your fifth homer.
Hurdle ended his comments by saying that someone on the Cubs likely spoke to Baez about what he did. Pedro Strop a reliever for the Cubs did just that, and Baez brought that up following the game.
Baez said he learned how ugly he looked on the fly ball after tossing the bat very high and not running to first and a teammate told him in a nice way.
Hurdle did not only criticize Baez. The Pittsburgh manager also was critical of Willson Contreras the catcher for the Cubs, but the issue with Baez has history with Pittsburgh.
Last season Steve Blass the Pirates broadcaster criticized Baez saying he was a difficult player to cheer for because of the flashy nature he has.
Baez said that any apologies that he makes are to his teammates and his manager, not to another team. He believes that Hurdle may have been upset since the Cubs had just defeated them on Wednesday 13-5.
Baez did seem to hold back something, and insisted as he had done last season, that he would not change anything about his style.
The season has just started and these two teams will be facing off against one another often as they battle for the National League Central title.