- Associated Press - Thursday, April 12, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle criticized Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez on Thursday for his bat flip on a popup, and the young slugger brushed off the comments by the former major leaguer.

Baez homered twice for the second straight day in Chicago’s 13-5 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. But he also flipped his bat high into the air when he popped up to shortstop Jordy Mercer in the seventh inning.

The 25-year-old Baez acknowledged after the win it was a mistake and that a teammate had talked to him about the display.

Hurdle was still rankled by the move before the Pirates’ 6-1 victory in the series finale.

“Where’s the respect for the game?” Hurdle said. “The guy hits four homers in two days, so that means you can take your bat and throw it 15, 20 feet in the air when you pop up like you should have hit your fifth home run? I would bet that men over there talked to him, because I do believe they have a group over there that speaks truth to power.”

Asked about Hurdle’s comments, Baez said he plays the game hard and was focused on helping his team.

“To be honest, I got a lot of things I can say right now, but I don’t control what’s out there, what people talk about me,” he said. “I’m just going to keep playing my game. Last year was a player talking about my game style and now this year, it’s a manager.

“Like I said, I don’t control it. However it gets to me, I learn from it, learn from that bat flip last night. That’s all I got to say. If anybody got stuff to say, they can save it.”

Baez went 0 for 4 in Thursday’s loss to Pittsburgh. He is batting .205 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 12 games this season.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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