Javier Baez went from the injury ward to hero in the span of a few hours.
The Chicago Cubs infielder made a pinch-hit appearance Tuesday and needed all of one pitch to end the game, lining a walk-off single to right field to lift the Cubs over the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.
But what the jubilant North Side supporters at Wrigley Field might not have realized is that he got that hit essentially on one foot. Baez hadn't played since jamming his right heel in Sunday's game, and was initially diagnosed with a contusion.
On Tuesday, he underwent an MRI on his ailing heel that was completed shortly before his ninth-inning heroics. Manager Joe Maddon said postgame that he didn't even know Baez would be able to take the at-bat until just before it happened.
"Give (trainer PJ Mainville) some credit on the tape job," Maddon said, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "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."
His teammates were left to be stunned onlookers as the nearly one-footed Baez ended the game with one swing.
Despite the base hit, Baez's status for Wednesday's game against Philadelphia remains unclear. He was slow to run to first base because of the bad heel, and Maddon indicated that he'll likely be a game-time decision.