MINNEAPOLIS — Javier Baez was heading toward third in the sixth inning of Sunday's All-Star Futures Game after hitting a two-run, opposite-field home run on a first-pitch curve.
"You've got to save those for the season," third baseman Kris Bryant yelled at Baez. "We need those."
Baez said he didn't hear what Bryant said because he was looking for his family in the stands.
"I was just laughing and enjoying it," he said.
So when was the last time Baez enjoyed a home run like that?
"I don't know," he said. "The last time I hit one."
Obviously Baez doesn't get too excited about things. As Bryant said, it's just "Javy being Javy."
The Iowa teammates, and top two prospects in the Cubs organization, wound up on opposite sides Sunday, with Baez, who was born in Puerto Rico, playing for the World team against Bryant and the U.S.
Bryant, who went 0-for-3 with a walk, had to be satisfied with bragging rights after the U.S. won 3-2 on Joey Gallo's two-run, 409-foot homer.
Bryant and Gallo, a Double-A third baseman in the Rangers system who earned the game's MVP award, played together as kids in Las Vegas. Gallo said he has known Bryant "since before I was born," adding he always pretended he played for the Yankees while Bryant pretended he was with the Red Sox.
The two played against each other in high school and make up two-thirds of the "Vegas Show" along with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
"It was a funny mix," Gallo said. "Harper is 21, (Bryant) is 22 and I'm 20, so we were all growing up together. To all be in the majors together, it'd be kind of cool."
Gallo and Bryant were tied for most home runs in the minors with 31 apiece, through Saturday. They also may be competing for Minor League Player of the Year.
"Obviously we're not really competing," Gallo said. "But it's funny to just be tight (in the home run race) with him, especially with the history we've had together."
A left-handed-hitting third baseman, Gallo put on an impressive display in batting practice, launching several balls 400-plus feet and smashing a window on a promotional truck outside the right-field wall. Gallo's mom posed next to the shattered window and texted the photo to him.
"I was like, 'Nice, Mom,'" he said.
Gallo probably would fare well in Monday's Home Run Derby and said NL captain Troy Tulowitzki texted him saying he'd like to pick him.
While Gallo and Bryant repped Vegas, White Sox second-base prospect Micah Johnson of Indianapolis was bragging about the fact four of the U.S. players were from Indiana. The prospects joining him were Rays catcher Justin O'Conner (Muncie), Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki (Westfield) and Twins pitcher Alex Meyer (Greensburg).
"Four Indiana guys," Meyer said. "You would've thought this is a basketball event. That would've made a little more sense. It speaks for Indiana baseball. It's getting a lot better."
Before the game, Meyer said Johnson "is going to go out there and run today, and he's going to be fun for fans to watch." Johnson did just that, and though he grounded out twice after entering in the fifth, he nearly legged out hits both times.
Hitting .297 at Triple-A Charlotte, Johnson should be up with the Sox soon.
"Who knows, man?" he said. "Just keep playing every day, trying to get hits, get on base. … That's all I can do."
Baez, who struck out on a wild pitch in the dirt in his second at-bat, also appears close to being ready, though where he'll play is the big question.
The Cubs still haven't had Baez play anywhere but shortstop, and don't plan to deal All-Star Starlin Castro.
Has the acquisition of premier shortstop prospect Addison Russell had any effect on Baez's mindset?
"Not really," he said. "I do my own thing. I'm sure they've got a plan for us."
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