7/30 Soto update & more

Catcher Geovany Soto, on the disabled list since July 11 because of a left oblique strain, could begin playing in some Minor League games as early as Friday. GM Jim Hendry said the medical staff got an update on Wednesday. Soto has been rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., at the team’s Spring Training facility, but has yet to get in a game.

“Optimistically, we hope he’s back in the lineup here no later than Colorado, maybe a chance a little before that, the couple games in Cincy,” Hendry said.

The Cubs will be in Cincinnati next Monday for a three-game series, and follow that with a four-game set in Colorado Aug. 7-10.

That means Koyie Hill could start 26 games in a row before Soto returns if he doesn’t come back until the Rockies series. It’s either that or insert Jake Fox behind the plate.

“I’m not opposed to it,” Lou Piniella said of Fox catching. “I’m comfortable enough that we can do that. We’ve been playing teams that have a little more speed and Hill does a nice job with that.”

* Jeff Stevens was optioned to Triple-A Iowa Wednesday, said his goodbyes to the Cubs, and was to spend the night in Chicago before catching a flight Thursday to join the Minor League team. But he got a phone call saying he needed to stick around. Stevens was added to the roster after Reed Johnson was placed on the disabled list.

Can he play center and sub for Johnson?

“I can play center field, I think,” he said

The Cubs would rather have him on the mound.

“It’s good to be back,” Stevens said. “I’m very happy to get another opportunity up here.”

* Jeff Baker’s pinch-hit home run on Friday against the Reds has ignited the Cubs bench. The pinch-hitters have gone 4-for-11 with two homers, five RBIs and three walks since then. Prior to that, Cubs pinch-hitters were 2-for-22.

— Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

There has to be something I’m missing concerning this whole catcher situation. Having a guy play 26 games in a row instead of calling up a guy (Chris Robinson) who is hitting .325 on the year at Triple-A just doesn’t make sense.

Hill is hitting .200 this month. I understand if the Cubs feel they’d rather have Hill in there as much as possible for his defense and his familiarity with the pitching staff, but 26 games in a row seems a bit much.

Is it an issue with service time or something with Robinson? Why is management reluctant to call him up? I could speculate that perhaps he has issues defensively, I don’t know. But if so, why would he be at Triple-A then?

The whole thing seems very confusing.

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