CHICAGO -- It wasn't exactly Kirk Gibson-esque, but not long after getting an MRI on his right heel, Chicago Cubs shortstop Javy Baez helped his team to victory with a walk-off single in their 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
Baez, 26, hadn't played since leaving Sunday's game in Washington after injuring his heel while throwing off balance to first base. Before Tuesday's contest, manager Joe Maddon indicated Baez was still sore and wasn't sure if he would be available off the bench until the last minute.
"Give [Cubs trainer PJ Mainville] some credit on the tape job," Maddon said. "Right before he went up there, we taped him up and he said he can do this. This is right out of the Lombardi era stuff."
With the bases loaded and one out, Baez hit the first pitch he saw in three days to right field and slowly jogged to first base, making a loser out of Phillies pitcher Juan Nicasio. Baez had pinch hit for second baseman Daniel Descalso but probably could not have played the field if the game went to extra innings. It's unclear if he'll be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
"I'm probably going to write out two lineups and see where we're at when he shows up," Maddon said.
Baez wasn't available to reporters after Tuesday's win but indicated after Sunday's game he didn't think his injury was serious. The Cubs kept him out of the lineup on Monday, eventually giving him an MRI. Obviously, it came back negative for anything serious.
"I didn't twist it or anything," Baez said Sunday. "I just went too hard to the ground and me heel kind of got jammed a little bit. ... All the time I was running it didn't bother me. When I got to the dugout it was kind of pumping a little bit. It's just a bruise."
Baez increased his batting average to .323 while tying Kris Bryant for the team lead in runs driven in as his game winner was No. 32 on the year. As always, the player known as El Mago (the magician) came through when the team needed him most -- even on one leg.
"I don't even know what's going on with him," Bryant said with a smile. "I don't know what's going on with him half the time anyway. 'Oh, Javy is pinch hitting? I was like 'Don't swing at the first pitch.' 'He's like 'I'm so good. I'm going to get this hit and we're going to go home.'"