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Report: Javier Baez To Start Playing In Rehab Games Thursday

(CBS) Cubs infielder prospect Javier Baez is nearing a return to Triple-A Iowa.

Out since June 7 with a fractured left ring finger, Baez will start playing in rehab games Thursday, Cubs director of player development Jaron Madison told the Des Moines Register on Monday evening. He could then return to the I-Cubs as early as next week sometime.

Baez has been rehabbing in Arizona at the Cubs' complex.

"He'll play in rehab games starting Thursday, and then he'll hopefully be back here in a little over a week," Madison said told the Register. "Hopefully — assuming everything goes well."

Baez's recovery is a noteworthy storyline to follow as the big league Cubs make their playoff push. Prior to injury, Baez was playing his best baseball of the season and on the verge of being called up to the majors again, according to several reports. Baez was hitting .314 with eight homers, 29 RBIs and a .922 OPS in 37 games at Triple-A this season.

Notably, Baez cut down on his strikeouts, which were a big concern for him. In 229 plate appearances in 40 games in the big leagues in 2014, he struck out 95 times, a strikeout rate of 41.4 percent. At Triple-A this season, he's struck out 40 times in 158 plate appearances, a rate of 25.3 percent.

In spring training, Cubs manager Joe Maddon often lauded Baez for his defensive and baserunning skills.

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