Candelario happy to sacrifice Futures Game

Candelario happy to sacrifice Futures Game

PITTSBURGH -- Jeimer Candelario is very happy to be in Pittsburgh this weekend. Candelario was picked to play in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in San Diego, but then he was promoted to the Cubs. Given a choice between a Minor League All-Star Game or the big leagues, he'll take the latter.

"When I was in the Minor Leagues, yeah, I was excited [about the Futures Game]," Candelario said. "I was more excited when [Triple-A Iowa manager Marty] Pevey told me I was going to the big leagues. I want to be here around these guys and watch them and, whenever the opportunity comes, take advantage of it."

The Cubs will have a representative at the Futures Game as Eloy Jimenez, 19, who was playing at Class A South Bend, will play for the World Team.

Candelario talked to Jimenez about playing together on Sunday. That will have to wait.

"He's excited," Candelario said of Jimenez. "He's so young, with so much talent. That guy has so much talent. I think the talent he has, with his mindset now, he's a man and he's growing up fast."

Jimenez, who was the top-rated prospect in the 2013 international market, has shown some power. This season, he' batting .337 in 79 games for South Bend, with 10 home runs, 29 doubles and 58 RBIs.

"He's one of those guys that when you're around him, you gravitate toward him," Cubs roving Minor League instructor Andy Haines said. "He loves the game, he loves his team."

Jimenez has already played more games this season than he did in 2014 or '15, and the Cubs are eager to see how he handles a longer schedule. The plan is to keep the outfielder at South Bend for the season.

Candelario isn't sure how long he'll be with the big league team.

"They'll decide what to do with me," the third baseman said. "Whatever they say, I'll do. I'm here to help the team and just focus."

Candelario, 22, was batting .333 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 15 RBIs at Iowa when he was promoted. He began the season at Double-A Tennessee, where he hit .249. He impressed Cubs manager Joe Maddon in Spring Training, batting .350 in 15 games with three home runs.

Cubs closer Hector Rondon teased Candelario about chosing between the Futures Game and the big leagues.

"I told him today, 'You're in the big leagues. Don't think about anything else,'" Rondon said.

Candelario appreciated that.

"They support me and I like that -- it's good experience," he said. "They've got my back."

The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will be broadcast live on MLB Network and on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. 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.