Two days after making his organizational debut, RHP Rafael Soriano made his second relief appearance Wednesday night for Double-A Tennessee.
Rafael Soriano pitched the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Birmingham Barons. Soriano faced the minimum after issuing a walk to the leadoff hitter. Soriano retired Nick Delmonico on a pop out to short and induced a ground ball off the bat of Adrian Nieto that turned into a 6-4-3 double play. Soriano made 14 pitches, eight were strikes.
In two games, Rafael Soriano has faced seven batters. Soriano has given up a hit (double) with a walk and three strikeouts (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP).
Joe Maddon said Tuesday that Soriano’s fastball topped out at 92 mph during Monday’s outing. And it needs to be a tick higher. There were not any reports from the park Wednesday about Soriano’s velocity.
Rafael Soriano appears to be on track to be added to the Cubs’ bullpen while the team is in Cincinnati the week after the All-Star break (July 20-22). Maddon indicated Monday that Soriano would need seven to eight appearances before he would be ready to pitch in the majors. Double-A Tennessee has already had its All-Star break and has just one scheduled off day (July 14) over the next 18 days.
The Cubs thought Soriano would be ready to join the team around the All-Star break when he was signed to a minor league contract June 9. Visa issues delayed his arrival to the States but he reported to the Cubs’ facility in the Dominican after he signed.
Soriano’s contract includes an opt out clause according to Jon Heyman that allows him to void the deal if he is not on the big league roster before the All-Star Game. Reports have not surfaced on how the visa issues will affect the opt out clause.
The Cubs signed Rafael Soriano to a one-year contract with a prorated base salary of $4.1 million. The deal includes a $4 million incentives package based on games finished and appearances.
Once Soriano is ready, the Cubs will have to open a spot on the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 40 players. And the front office will need a spot on the 40-man for Mike Olt.
The Cubs sent Olt on a rehab assignment on June 19. Position players can be on a rehab assignment for 20 days. Olt’s rehab assignment expired Wednesday and he will have to be activated from the 60-day DL. Olt can still be optioned to Iowa but a spot on the 40-man will also have to be opened for him.
If the Cubs are able to add Rafael Soriano to the bullpen, Joe Maddon will have another veteran option to lean on late in games.