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New Cubs Hitting Coach John Mallee In Puerto Rico Working With Javier Baez

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This can only be a good thing.

Here's hoping we see less of this from Javier Baez in 2015 and beyond
Here's hoping we see less of this from Javier Baez in 2015 and beyond
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Cubs infielder (note how I hedge on any precise position) Javier Baez needs work on his approach and mechanics after striking out 95 times in 213 big-league at-bats last summer, a horrifying 44.6 percent strikeout rate.

I have learned that Cubs hitting coach John Mallee has been in San Juan, Puerto Rico since last Tuesday, working with Baez on just that. Mallee got a lot of credit for helping Jose Altuve and Chris Carter bring their games to the next level, and hopefully he can do the same for Baez.

This Spanish-language article notes Baez's season debut for the Santurce Crabbers Thursday night. Looks like Mallee has his work cut out for him as Baez struck out three times and had a sacrifice fly, plating one of the two runs in his team's 2-0 win.

Batting coaches often get too much blame when things go wrong with a team and not enough credit when a team's going well, but I thought you'd like to know that Mallee, who is highly regarded throughout baseball, isn't idle this winter, instead trying to bring out Baez's talent and get him to have an approach that will allow him to succeed at the big-league level. Mallee is expected to spend a week in Puerto Rico working with Baez.