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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.

Cubs recall David Bote from Triple-A with Anthony Rizzo's back ailing

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USA TODAY

Cubs recall David Bote from Triple-A with Anthony Rizzo's back ailing

David Bote's minor league stint didn't last long.

After demoting the 26-year-old to Triple-A Iowa on Monday, the Cubs recalled Bote on Sunday. In a corresponding move, the team placed Derek Holland (left wrist contusion) on the 10-day injured list.

Bote's return comes on the heels of Anthony Rizzo exiting Saturday's game due to mid-back tightness. Rizzo has dealt with back issues at various points in his career, missing four games in May this season with a similar ailment. 

The Cubs activated Steve Cishek off the injured list Tuesday, with the reliever filling Bote's vacancy on the 25-man roster. Thus, the Cubs had been playing with 14 pitchers and 11 position players for much of this week. Had they not recalled Bote, they Cubs would've had to play Sunday's game with just Victor Caratini and Tony Kemp available off the bench.

A similar situation occurred Saturday, as Rizzo exited the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. To save the Cubs from running out of position players, reliever Kyle Ryan took his at-bat in the sixth inning. Although he drew a walk, Ryan was thrown out attempting to take third base on a pitch that got away from Nationals catcher Yan Gomes.

Holland was hit by a comebacker in Tuesday's game against the Giants. Him landing on the injured list leaves Ryan as the lone lefty in the Cubs bullpen. The former holds a 5.74 ERA this season in 43 overall games between the Cubs and Giants, though that number is a more respectable 4.66 in 12 appearances with the Cubs.

Bote is hitting .257/.352/.429 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 106 games (268 at-bats) this season. 

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Anthony Rizzo leaves Cubs game with injury

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USA TODAY

Anthony Rizzo leaves Cubs game with injury

In the midst of a second straight tough game against the Nationals, the Cubs were dealt another dose of bad news when Anthony Rizzo was forced out of the contest due to injury.

The first baseman was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fifth inning with what the team called mid-back tightness. The Cubs did not have an update on his status immediately following the 7-2 loss.

Rizzo had walked the previous inning and was stranded on third base when a full-count pitch to Ian Happ was called a strike:

Rizzo made an error in each of the first two innings of the game, throwing a ball into left field when second base wasn't being covered and then dropping a throw from Javy Baez to begin the second inning.

Rizzo has dealt with back issues throughout his career, including a stint where he missed four games in mid-May.

Jonathan Lucroy hit for Rizzo in the fifth inning and doubled home the Cubs' second run of the game. He stayed in to catch while Victor Cartaini moved from behind the plate to first base.

The Cubs were already operating with a short bench since they currently have a nine-man bullpen and they had already utilized Happ off the bench earlier in the game (he was later ejected after the controversial call).