Cubs

Cubs dealt tough blow as Jorge Soler, Jason Motte end up on DL

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Cubs dealt tough blow as Jorge Soler, Jason Motte end up on DL

The Cubs will be without two important players as they enter the stretch run toward the postseason.

Reliever Jason Motte and outfielder Jorge Soler both landed on the disabled list Monday morning.

Motte is dealing with a right shoulder strain and will not throw for seven-to-10 days. The Cubs hope he can be back in three or four weeks.

[MORE CUBS: Justin Grimm finding a new level in Cubs bullpen]

Soler has a left oblique strain. He will be out approximately a month, but Cubs have already seen how tricky oblique injuries are this season as Opening Day second baseman Tommy La Stella spent two different stints on the DL with an oblique strain.

"Just one of those things that happens," manager Joe Maddon said. "Everyone faces the different dilemmas this time of year. You just gotta play through them.

"It's called depth. You have to have depth. The player that is 'depth' when it all starts out doesn't like being 'depth,' but he is and all of a sudden, he gets his opportunity and then good things can happen."

La Stella - who was the Cubs' Opening Day second baseman - is getting his opportunity right now as he was recalled to take Soler's spot on the roster. He was in the lineup at second base Monday with Starlin Castro returning to shortstop while Addison Russell deals with a minor groin injury and attends to his fiancée, who was giving birth to the couple's child Monday.

It's possible Russell will be available off the bench Monday or Tuesday.

"I've been looking to give him a break anyway," Maddon said. "Maybe this little sign indicates 'back off.'

"Let's just be very careful. He's a very important part of what we're doing right now. So this little rest might be very beneficial to him and to us."

The Cubs don't know what play Soler hurt himself on and the injury comes at a time when the 23-year-old rookie was hitting .296/.378/.394 (.772 OPS) over his last 20 games with 14 RBI and nine walks.

With Soler out, it does open up options for Maddon, who said Chris Coghlan would go back to the outfield on a regular basis against right-handed pitchers while La Stella and Castro can work in at second base. The Cubs also have Javier Baez waiting in the wings at Triple-A Iowa as an option for the infield.

The Cubs called up lefty Zac Rosscup to take Motte's spot in the bullpen.

Motte said he felt his shoulder flare up during his appearance Sunday, experiencing some "bumpiness" before finishing the inning and getting an MRI Sunday night.

Motte has gone through Tommy John recovery before, so he put things in perspective with what the Cubs hope is a minor shoulder strain.

"It is what it is," he said. "Stuff like this is part of the game. Things like this happen. All you can do is take your time, rest it when you need to rest it and do what you need to do to get back out there and get ready to go.

"Hopefully it will only be a couple weeks and I'll be back in the first couple weeks of September and be ready to go. There's still a lot of season left after that."

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

This is a tough blow for the Cubs, who hold the second National League wild card spot, six games up on the San Francisco Giants entering play Monday.

The injury bug strikes the Cubs at a rough time as they embark on a crucial stretch beginning with a showdown with those Giants on the West Coast Tuesday.

This continues a week in which the Cubs offense - which responded well to limited time at the field during Maddon's "American Legion Week" - has to face Corey Kluber, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw.

"I guess we move from American Legion Week to Cy Young Week," Maddon joked.

The Cubs also signed Quintin Berry as depth, assigning the 30-year-old outfielder to Triple-A Iowa.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.

Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th. 

Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.

The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.

Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: If Cubs somehow miss the playoffs will Joe Maddon's seat start heating up?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: If Cubs somehow miss the playoffs will Joe Maddon's seat start heating up?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPN.com) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Welington Castillo’s 80-game PED suspension, the Cubs struggles and if Joe Maddon could be on the hot seat if the Cubs somehow miss the playoffs in 2018.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: