Did you know Jorge Soler is 15-for-45 in 15 Cactus League games with a double, a triple, three home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts (.333/.380/.600) for a .980 OPS? Soler has flown under the radar for the most part this spring.
Joe Maddon has noticed and the Cubs’ skipper did not hold back his praise for Soler when he talked to the beat writers Saturday.
“He’s a beautiful man. I really, really enjoy the way he it. He’s like Vladimir Guerrero with plate discipline. As a scout, my God. If he was in the United States as a draft choice, he’s the No. 1 pick, there’s no doubt about it. No. 1 overall.”
Maddon thinks the fact Soler doesn’t speak or understand the English language “might be working in his favor right now.”
According to Comcast SportsNet, Soler could hit in the two-hole in Maddon’s lineup especially on the days the pitcher is batting eighth.
Joe Maddon acknowledged keeping Soler healthy and on the field “is really important” to the Cubs success this season.
Just Because – The Line
Kris Bryant went 4-for-5 at Sloan Park on Saturday with a double off the wall in right field. Bryant reached in four straight appearances in each of the first four innings. And impressed Rick Sutcliffe again.
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada completed a 42-pitch simulated game Saturday according to a report from Carrie Muskat. Wada has been sidelined with hamstring and groin injuries and is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
Muskat explained everything went well for Wada “until he slipped on a concrete sidewalk, which prompted a groan from Chris Bosio.” Wada told Carrie Muskat he “is fine and focused on getting healthy.”
Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to start a minor league game Thursday.
RHP Dallas Beeler has not pitched in a Cactus League game, or any other game, this spring due to soreness in his right bicep. Beeler is scheduled to pitch a two inning simulated game Tuesday. Beeler, like Tsuyoshi Wada and Jacob Turner is expected to begin the season on the DL.
Cubs Pitching Plans
The Cubs announced the team’s pitching plans for the last week of the exhibition season.
Edwin Jackson starts Sunday against the Royals in Surprise. Kyle Hendricks gets the ball in Monday’s game with the Giants and Travis Wood will pitch in a B-Game. Hendricks has started the Cubs previous two B Games this spring.
Eric Jokisch is scheduled to face the Rangers in Surprise on Tuesday while Jon Lester makes a start in a minor league game. Jason Hammel is expected to start Wednesday against the Brewers in the Cactus League finale at Sloan Park. And Edwin Jackson gets the start on Friday night against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Jake Arrieta’s final spring tune-up is Thursday. The Cubs have Thursday off between the Cactus League finale and the two practice games at Chase Field with the Diamondbacks. Jake Arrieta will pitch in a minor league game.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Skybox on Sheffield owner Ed McCarthy told reporters Saturday that Marc Hamid had been terminated and relieved of all his duties … one day after the news hit the wire Hamid had been indicted on fraud charges.
• Gordon Edes provided an update on the Allen Craig rumors. Edes was hearing Saturday a deal could be close that included Craig.
• Ken Rosenthal broke down the trade market as he sees it with a week before Opening Night.
• And Jim Duquette posted five trades that make sense to him before Opening Day … and he thinks the Dodgers should acquire Cole Hamels. Duquette would include Corey Seager or lefty Julio Urias in package in order to add Hamels to the Dodgers’ rotation.
• The Rangers found the lefty reliever Jon Daniels was looking for this spring. The Rangers made a good pick-up and acquired LHP Sam Freeman from the Cardinals for a player to be named later or cash.
• Jake Arrieta likes hitting eighth. Arrieta had a good work day versus the Rockies according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• The Mets are interested in Orioles’ lefty Brian Matusz according to Joel Sherman.
• And according to Joel Sherman, it’s time for everyone involved in the Kris Bryant saga to shut up … for the good of the kid … more vitally … the good of the game.
• OF Nate Schierholtz asked for and was granted his release by the Texas Rangers. Schierholtz signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in the off-season and was informed he would not be making the team out of Spring Training.
And last, but not least, Anthony Rizzo always wanted to hit leadoff for a team. So Rizzo mentioned it to Dave Martinez and Joe Maddon had him leadoff Saturday’s game in Mesa.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Mitch Maier
2008 – Cubs released Ryan O’Malley
2007 – Cubs sent Tomas Perez to the Dodgers
2007 – In a split squad game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks at HoHoKam Park, Ria Cortesio became the first female umpire to work a Major League exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989.
2005 – Cubs acquired Cliff Bartosh from the Indians for Bear Bay
2004 – Cubs returned John Foster to the Brewers
2003 – Cubs released Eliezer Alfonzo
2003 – Cubs released Felix Martinez
2001 – Cubs sent Trace Coquillette to the Indians
2001 – Cubs released Brian McNichol
2000 – Cubs opened the Major League season in Japan at the Tokyo Dome against the Mets. The Cubs topped the Mets, 5-3 in the first Major League Opening Day played outside of the United States, Canada or Mexico. Jon Lieber picked up the win, Mike Hampton the loss. Shane Andrews and Mark Grace went deep for the Cubs.
1999 – Cubs selected Curtis Goodwin off waivers from the Rockies
1994 – Cubs released Brendan Donnelly
1994 – Cubs traded Travis Willis to the Pirates for Scott Bullett
1991 – Cubs traded Gary Varsho to the Pirates for Steve Carter
1988 – Cubs traded Wade Rowdon to the Orioles for Tom Michno and Nicolas Ramirez
1975 – Cubs released Billy Grabarkewitz
1970 – Cubs traded Randy Bobb to the Mets for J.C. Martin
1964 – Cubs purchased Joey Amalfitano from the Giants
1958 – Domingo Ramos, born
1955 – Karl Pagel, born
1954 – Manager Phil Cavarretta told reporters and owner P.K. Wrigley his feelings about the team’s chances for the upcoming season. Wrigley fired Cavarretta and replaced him with Stan Hack. Cavarretta became the first manager in the history of the game to lose his managerial position in Spring Training.
1946 – Cubs selected Emmett O’Neill off waivers from the Red Sox
1933 – After missing half of the 1932 season with a broken leg, OF Kiki Cuyler broke his other leg and missed nearly three months of the season.
1855 – Bill Harbridge, born