Jeimer Candelario Putting in Work, Will Do Whatever it Takes to Get Back to Bigs

Jeimer Candelario is nothing if not a gym rat. Or is it a diamond rat? Whatever the euphemism, you’d expect little else from a kid who grew up under the watchful eye of a father who operated a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Now, after coming up for a cup of coffee just before the All-Star break last season, Candelario is busting his butt this winter to make sure he gets more time around Joe.

Of course, he’d be putting in work whether the next step was to Chicago or Tennessee because that’s just who he is.

“It starts when you’re a kid,” Candelario told me when we sat down to talk about his journey as a ballplayer. “You gotta love it when you’re a kid and…you gotta be able to work hard and love it. If you don’t love it, you’re not gonna enjoy it and you’re not gonna have success.”

As he’s moved through each level of the Cubs’ system, Candelario has matured both physically and mentally and has learned more about the routine he needs to establish to stick at the next level. He’ll need to pour every ounce of effort he can muster into a nearly perfect routine, though, if he wants to carve out a spot on a roster that boasts a pair of MVP-caliber corner infielders.

Whether it’s as an injury replacement, a bench bat, or taking on a new position, you can bet Candelario is going to do whatever it takes.

“You gotta be able to prepare yourself, always. When the manager needs you, you gotta be able to help the team.”

Even if that means learning to pitch left-handed?

“Man, if I could do that I would do it. Whatever it takes to help the team win and get another championship. Yeah, I would do it.”

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