Baez Honored, Soler Sits, Almora Begins Rehab and Other Cubs Notes

The top prospect in the Cubs’ system was named player of the week in the Florida State League. After a slow start, Javier Baez has heated up. Baez was named the FSL’s Player of the Week after hitting .435 with two home runs, two doubles, six RBI and five runs scored. Baez is hitting .265/.299/.520/.819 with six doubles, three triples and five home runs in 24 games this season. But over the last 10 games, Baez has a .333/.375/.583 slash line with three doubles, two home runs and a .958 OPS, plus two of his four walks have come over that span.

Jorge Soler was benched on Sunday after not hustling twice during Saturday’s game. Dave Keller, Daytona’s manager, sat Soler because the organization will no longer accept a player not giving 100 percent. Keller said this is not the first time a minor league player has been benched for not playing the game the right way.

Theo Epstein told the Tribune, “Our managers are encouraged to bench players who are giving less than 100 percent effort – whether that’s failure to hustle down the first base line or failure to properly prepare for a game. It’s our responsibility to make sure every player in the organization demonstrates preparation, hustle and effort every day with no exceptions. Playing time is still the best way to get a player’s attention. Many players have been benched for this reason already this year and have resonded immediately with proper effort. Soler is not alone, and, in fact, he has shown a real interest in learning to play the game the right way.”

Albert Almora

Albert Almora announced on his Twitter account late Monday afternoon that he completed his first rehab game. Almora broke his hamate bone on March 14 and was expected to be out for three to four weeks. Almora had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left hand.

Almora is not expected to play in games until late May after having his Spring Training cut short. Once Almora is ready to go multiple reports have suggested that he will report to Low-A Kane County.

Kyuji Fujikawa

Kyuji Fujikawa completed his second bullpen session on Monday. Fujikawa threw 32 pitches and was reportedly not that sharp. Fujikawa is scheduled to throw one more bullpen before reporting to Iowa on Sunday to begin a rehab assignment. The Cubs would like to see him make at least two rehab appearances before activating him from the DL. Fujikawa has been on the DL since April 13 with a strained right forearm.

Look for the Cubs to be extra careful with Fujikawa this time around.

News, Notes and Injury Updates

According to a report from Jon Heyman, a rival GM predicted David Price will be traded to the Cubs or Rangers

Ian Stewart went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts on Monday. Stewart is 4-for-36 with eight walks, one double, five runs scored, five RBI, 14 strikeouts and four errors in 11 rehab games with Iowa.

Jeff Samardzija admitted after Monday’s start that the cut he received on the index finger of his pitching hand during his previous start in Cincinnati effected Monday’s outing. Samardzija was not able to prepare in between starts due to the cut on his finger. Samardzija did not use it as an excuse for his poor outing.

Scott Baker resumed his throwing program on Monday in Mesa. Baker threw light toss from 45 feet. Baker was shut down with an elbow strain on March 24. According to ESPN Chicago, there is no timetable for Baker’s return.

Steve Clevenger caught two bullpen sessions on Monday. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Clevenger threw from 120-130 feet and is expected to start swinging a bat next week. Clevenger was placed on the 60-day DL on April 14 with a strained left oblique.

Matt Garza remains on track to make a rehab start with the Smokies on Wednesday.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Dale Sveum raved about Brian Bogusevic on Monday. Bogusevic could still be called up on a “need basis” according to the report.

David Kaplan tweeted two interesting stats on Monday. Prior to Monday’s game, four holdovers (Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano) from the previous regime had a combined .288 OBP with eight walks in 321 plate appearance. And four players (David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo, Nate Schierholtz, and Luis Valbuena) that have been added under the current regime have a combined .360 OBP that includes 32 walks in 338 plate appearances.

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