Cubs

Cubs lineup will miss a big presence with Jorge Soler on DL

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Cubs lineup will miss a big presence with Jorge Soler on DL

MIAMI – Cubs manager Joe Maddon has called Jorge Soler “a monster player in the making,” predicting the young outfielder will develop into a middle-of-the-order force.

Even if Soler hasn’t quite lived up to the Vladimir-Guerrero-with-plate-discipline hype yet, he still added another dimension to this lineup. Soler is a powerful 6-foot-4 athlete who sparked a bidding war after leaving Cuba, immediately getting a big-name reputation with that nine-year, $30 million major-league contract.

Soler going on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle will test a lineup built around Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Realistically, the Cubs are looking at Soler being sidelined for at least three weeks, with Junior Lake getting an opportunity to prove he belongs in right field.  

“I definitely believe there is the presence feature,” Maddon said Wednesday at Marlins Park. “I thought about that sending the lineup over there today. The names that we presented – minus (Soler) – how do they feel about it?

[MORE - Kris Bryant named NL rookie of the month]

“Now, of course, if you get a guy or two who elevates his game, or all of a sudden starts really hitting well, then it becomes moot.

“Otherwise, the names do matter. Whenever you get a lineup card over from the other side, I look at who’s hitting behind who, and it matters.”

While Mike Baxter took Soler’s roster spot, the Cubs could also be setting the stage for a bigger shakeup with Javier Baez now starting to play third base at Triple-A Iowa.

Soler hasn’t quite delivered the combination of patience and power the Cubs expected, ranking fifth in the majors with 67 strikeouts while hitting only four home runs. But he still led all National League rookies with 50 hits, putting up a .724 OPS overall and showing improvements in May (.288 average).

“Am I concerned? No. Am I curious? Yes,” Maddon said. “Different guys are going to get an opportunity now. And as you move this thing forward, getting young guys opportunities is always interesting (because) you see what you got.” 

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: