Baez takes leave of absence after sister passes away

Baez takes leave of absence after sister passes away

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez's sister, Noely, passed away Wednesday, and the infielder will take an indefinite leave of absence from the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa team. Noely was 21.

Noely was born with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect which happens when the spinal column does not close all the way. The Baez family had moved from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Fla., so Noely could get better care. Javier was involved in a fundraiser for spina bifida in Jacksonville to raise awareness.

"We don't see her as someone who is different from us," Baez said in an interview in December 2013. "She's a miracle for us. She's a miracle in our lives."

The Baez family asked for privacy during this difficult time.

The Iowa Cubs were scheduled to open their season Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

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.