MIAMI — Jorge Soler showed the Cubs he didn’t have to be constantly handled with caution, beating expectations by playing in each of the team’s first 49 games.
But the Cubs had to scratch Soler from Game 50, sending him to get an MRI on Tuesday in South Florida, waiting to see how serious this ankle injury will become.
Soler awkwardly landed on first base while trying to hustle for an infield single during Monday night’s 5-1 win over the Miami Marlins. Manager Joe Maddon couldn’t rule out the idea of putting Soler on the disabled list.
“I don’t know enough yet,” Maddon said at Marlins Park. “I’m still waiting to hear. It could be day-to-day. It could be longer than that. I’m not sure.”
Either way, the Cubs already decided to change up their outfield mix, promoting Matt Sczcur and sending Mike Baxter to Triple-A Iowa.
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Long-term durability has been a major concern for Soler, who’s dealt with a series of leg injuries that forced the Cubs to carefully manage his schedule in spring training. The organization also made sure to map out days off during his 24-game audition last season.
At the age of 23, this will be uncharted territory for Soler, who estimated a typical season for an amateur player in Cuba would last about 36 games. He had played in 151 games combined across parts of the last three minor-league seasons.
Maddon doesn’t want to shut down Soler, who’s been a productive player (.724 OPS), even if so far he hasn’t lived up to his reputation as a patient, selective hitter (67 strikeouts) with great power (four home runs).
“If it’s going to be relatively short, I don’t think it would be wise to DL him,” Maddon said. “With a guy like him, one or two days at the most might be plenty. He’s actually doing better right now.
“I liked his at-bats. I also liked him tracking down balls in the right-field corner. He’s been playing well. I think his bat’s been getting better. So I’m not looking to get him an extended rest right now.”