4/11 Theo: “We condemn the act, support the player”
Anyone who was around Jorge Soler in Spring Training was surprised at the news that he had taken a bat and headed toward the opposing dugout on Wednesday night. The Florida State League suspended Soler five games for his actions.
“Jorge is tremendously remorseful about what happened, and understands what he did was wrong,” said Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations. “He didn’t sleep last night, was up all night thinking about it. He was very apologetic. He understands this can’t happen again and understands there will be discipline associated with it.”
Epstein reviewed the video of the incident, and talked to Soler Thursday morning. According to the outfielder, there was some talk back and forth during the game, and something was said about Soler’s family, and Epstein said, “that’s when he lost his cool.”
“He understands and we agree that’s not an excuse for what happened,” Epstein said. “He has to find a way to better manage his emotions on the field. We condemn the act and what took place but we support the player. We believe in Jorge as a person as well as a player. It’s our responsibility to work with him and make sure he has a better way to channel his emotions on the field and make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
This spring, Soler was well mannered, friendly and had a quick smile. But he’s also young and adjusting to life in the U.S.
“This is a great kid, who has already overcome a lot in his life, and someone we’re not worried about at all for the long haul,” Epstein said. “He’s been thrust into a very high profile situation very suddenly, and it’s our job as an organization to make sure he has the tools to make good decisions even in the heat of the moment.”
The entire incident was over quickly, Epstein said.
“There was no swinging of the bat whatsoever, there was no physical contact, there was no violent act,” Epstein said. “This was merely a situation of grabbing a bat, which he shouldn’t have done, and heading toward the opposing dugout, which he shouldn’t have done.”
— Carrie Muskat