2/21 Intrasquad game and injuries
Dioner Navarro hit a two-run single and Ian Stewart added an RBI double in the first inning Thursday to help the Cubs’ White team beat the Blue team, 7-3, at HoHoKam Park.
Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler showed off his much touted bat speed when he launched a solo homer in the second inning. Brian Bogusevic added another in the fifth for the Blue team.
Soler, who turns 21 on Feb. 25, hasn’t played much organized baseball in the last two years. Spring is important to him.
“You play every day, you learn more about baseball,” Soler said through coach/interpreter Franklin Font.
He’s also aware of the interest in him from Cubs fans.
“I want to do everything on the field to do better, to get better for the Chicago Cubs,” Soler said.
Soler was in the same lineup and batting ahead of Javier Baez, another potential impact player, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2011. Baez struck out, hit a run-scoring fielder’s choice, and got doubled off first. He also may be getting some extra infield work.
“A little shaky today,” Dale Sveum said of the shortstop’s defensive play. “It’s kind of young stuff that’s still there that has to be cleaned up, obviously. A lot of stuff, even stuff behind the scenes that everyone else doesn’t see that we have to see, some instinctive stuff.”
Soler will start in left field again on Friday in another five-inning intrasquad game at HoHoKam, which will be the final tuneup before the Cactus League season begins Saturday in Tempe against the Angels.
“It’s just nice seeing these guys play because we’ve all come across tool guys and bat speed and all that and it never seems to pan out,” Sveum said. “It’s nice to watch them, see how they react to things. [Soler] doesn’t seem like a real panic type guy.”
* Stewart was pulled from the game because of a “mild, slight, very little quad [strain],” Sveum said. Josh Vitters also was unavailable because of a left quad strain as well. Stewart appeared to injure his leg coming out of the batter’s box after hitting a double in the first inning.
“It doesn’t seem to be no big deal and it felt like a cramp,” Sveum said.
Both Stewart and Vitters were listed on Friday’s intrasquad lineup but that may change.
* Thursday highlights: Starlin Castro was 3-for-3, and Nate Schierholtz hit a solo homer and sac fly.
* Here’s the early lineup for Friday’s game:
Brett Jackson CF
Darnell McDonald LF
Rafael Lopez C
Junior Lake DH
Brian Bogusevic RF
Christian Villanueva 3B
Alberto Gonzalez 2B
Brad Nelson 1B
Javier Baez SS
Logan Watkins 2B
Matt Szczur CF
Steve Clevenger C
Johermyn Chavez RF
Josh Vitters 3B
Edwin Maysonett SS
Brent Lillibridge 1B
Jorge Soler LF
Ian Stewart DH
— Carrie Muskat