Cubs' Baez gets turned around in CF debut

Admits to taking 'bad read,' says he just needs to 'relax'

Cubs' Baez gets turned around in CF debut

PHOENIX -- Javier Baez's first start in center field was a little bit of an adventure.

The first three Brewers batters Thursday hit balls to Baez, beginning with Jonathan Villar, who ended up with a triple off the center-field wall. Baez was turned around a few times as he tried to track the ball.

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"I took a bad read, that's all," Baez said. "I took a bad read and missed the ball. I don't feel bad. I haven't missed one ball in Spring Training. It's a good thing it happened now and not later. We'll see -- we'll see what happens."

The Cubs are hoping that Baez can become more versatile and more valuable by playing the outfield after spending his time in the Minor Leagues and Major Leagues at second and shortstop. Baez did start in center in four games in Puerto Rican winter ball.

"I've just got to get used to it," Baez said of the outfield. "I'm seeing the ball really good. I just took a bad jump. I was trying to rush the throw and you can't throw the ball if you don't have it."

Does it still feel awkward in the outfield?

"I think I'm too hyper to be back there," he said, smiling. "I just have to relax."

Villar scored on Colin Walsh's sacrifice fly, which naturally was hit to Baez, and then Baez dropped Jonathan Lucroy's fly ball to right center for an error.

"[Right fielder Jorge Soler] called the ball and I called him off," Baez said. "We talked in the dugout. I was calling the ball a little earlier. That was it."

Baez just needs to take a deep breath.

"I was feeling like I was reacting like I was at short or second," he said of playing center. "You have a little more time out there."

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