Cubs

Cubs: Joe Maddon won’t put ‘injury-prone’ label on Jorge Soler

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Cubs: Joe Maddon won’t put ‘injury-prone’ label on Jorge Soler

The Cubs don’t have a timetable for Jorge Soler yet, but the rookie outfielder doesn’t believe his strained oblique muscle will become a season-ending injury.

“I’m going to be back,” Soler said Wednesday at Wrigley Field through interpreter/coach Franklin Font.

While the Cubs miss Soler’s presence in the lineup right now, this could also be a much bigger-picture issue for a franchise that gave him a nine-year, $30 million major-league contract in the summer of 2012.

That turned out to be a shrewd investment in the Cuban market for Theo Epstein’s front office, because there’s no denying the talent. Staying healthy and getting on the field has been the biggest concern with Soler.

“I’m not ready to label him as ‘accident-prone’ or ‘injury-prone’ or whatever,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Let it just play out. Let’s see how it goes. And as he gains more major-league (experience) with playing baseball on a 162-game schedule, he might be able to stay healthier as he gets older.”

[MORE: Javier Baez returns to Cubs with something to prove]

Soler played only 151 games across parts of the last three seasons in the minors while dealing with a series of leg injuries. He is built more like an NFL linebacker, the type of athlete that typically doesn’t play baseball at a high level anymore in this country.

The Cubs monitored Soler’s workload in spring training and then had him go 49-for-49 in games played before he sprained his ankle in early June, awkwardly landing on first base while trying to hustle for an infield single.

“It happens,” Maddon said. “But a lot of times, my experience has been guys that maybe as they’re younger fall into this trap. And as they gain more experience, it kind of goes away.”

Soler hoped to maybe swing a bat on Friday, but oblique injuries are particularly difficult to project (see Tommy La Stella). The Cubs placed Soler on the disabled list on Aug. 24, but he said he first felt something two days earlier on a throw to second base.

The Cubs had been seeing signs that Soler’s power might finally start to emerge. Overall, he’s hitting .265 with seven homers, 42 RBI and a .710 OPS in 90 games this season.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Soler’s extended absence helped drive this week’s Austin Jackson deal with the Seattle Mariners. Jackson – a right-handed hitter who can move all over the outfield – played in seven postseason series with the Detroit Tigers between 2011 and 2013.

“There’s definitely the mitigating factor,” Maddon said. “Austin is a good baseball player, man. He’s having a good year and he’s really been hot. Furthermore, he’s been there and done that in this time of the year, and that really helps, also. So I thought it was an outstanding move on the part of our guys to get him here under these circumstances.

“Losing George at this moment was not very good. But I think we’ve done a nice job of trying to fix it up a little bit. So I’m really excited about Austin and what he can do here.”

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...