MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Cubs top shortstop prospect Javier Baez is back in the lineup Sunday afternoon at Triple-A Iowa after missing a little over a week with soreness in his left ankle.
He will serve as the designated hitter on Sunday but should be allowed to return to short early this week.
Baez was off to a slow start this year for the Iowa Cubs, batting just .154 with 10 strikeouts in 26 at-bats. He hit .310 with five home runs in 42 at-bats this spring in the Cactus League and tallied 37 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and 111 RBI in 130 games last season between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
Regarded by most ranking services as one of the top five prospects in baseball, the 21-year-old former first-round pick (ninth overall in 2011) is likely to reach the major league level at some point this summer.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.