Javy Baez on Pirates talking smack about his game: 'They can save it'

It’s been a good week for baseball rivalries to re-ignite. The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres have beef after trading a few hit-by-pitches, and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are taking the fight for the American League East a little too seriously.

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The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates may not have gotten physical Wednesday night, but the two teams are definitely at odds. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took aim at Cubs infielder Javy Baez following Wednesday’s contest, saying Baez needed to respect the game.

Baez fired back at Hurdle on Thursday, saying the people who want to criticize him for his play shouldn’t waste their breath.

Baez added that he’s going to continue playing the game hard, and that he has no control over what people say about his play style. He did say, however, that he didn’t appreciate the “trash talk.”

Hurdle took exception to Baez’s antics after Baez hit a pop up during Wednesday’s game. Baez was frustrated with himself for making poor contact, and threw his bat high into the air after popping up to short. He also didn’t run to first base immediately.

After seeing that, Hurdle suggested some members of the Cubs have a talk with Baez about his actions. He also took exception to catcher Willson Contreras arguing with a call earlier in the game and not getting tossed.

Some members of the Cubs actually did talk with Baez about the play, and he apologized after the game Wednesday, saying he looked “ugly” during the play. He added that he felt he let down his fans by showing his frustration, and that his teammates had a positive conversation with him about his reaction.

That, apparently, wasn’t good enough for Hurdle. The manager made his comments Thursday morning.

Baez proved to be a pretty big thorn in Pittsburgh’s side during the series. He smashed four home runs against the Pirates in just three games. The Pirates got the last laugh, though, winning the series two games to one.

Everyone expects the Cubs to win the National League Central, but the Pirates sit atop the division now. If the Cubs can get it together and the Pirates can continue their hot start, that could set up a pretty intense series when the teams meet again at the end of May.

Even if things cool down by then, both teams still have 16 games to play against each other. That offers plenty of opportunities for Hurdle and Baez to exchange words again.

Cubs infielder Javier Baez threw his bat too high for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle’s liking. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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