Cubs

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Cubs

PHILADELPHIA – Jorge Soler has only 175 games on his major-league resume and already the gifted Cubs outfielder has been on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle, a strained left oblique and now a strained left hamstring.  

That doesn’t include the strained left calf and strained right and left hamstrings he experienced during his minor-league career. Or the rust that developed during the two years of game action he missed while defecting from Cuba before finally signing a $30 million contract with the Cubs.

“It’s easy to say ‘injury-prone,’” manager Joe Maddon said after Tuesday’s MRI confirmed Soler’s latest setback, leading to Albert Almora’s promotion from Triple-A Iowa. “I really refrain from putting labels like that on a player.” 

But after Soler felt something while running hard to first base and exited Monday night’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Maddon admitted that hamstring issues can be “chronic” and certain players are “predisposed” to injuries.

“I just think as he learns how to take care of it and keeps getting stronger – that’s like, wow, can he get stronger? – (he’ll learn) how to maintain it better,” Maddon said.

The Cubs are operating under the assumption that Soler will be sidelined for at least 15 days, meaning a best-case scenario for his return would leave more than a month before the trade deadline.   

 

The Cubs can recognize Soler’s off-the-charts, age-24 potential and still see the inconsistent production, injury issues and escalating price of pitching that would make it difficult to package him in the right deal for a young starter.  

The Cubs also wouldn’t want to sell low on Soler, who has looked far more comfortable playing left field recently, while raising his batting average 30 points to .223 since the end of April and nearly boosting his OPS to .700 after a slow start that felt like another career crossroads. 

“We’re trying to hold back on any kind of timeframe,” Maddon said. “We don’t want to put any kind of finish line on it. We definitely want him to see our doctor before we put any kind of specific plan together.

“He’s out for a bit, obviously. I don’t know exactly how long. But it’s too bad, man. He’s starting to come on.”