Results tagged ‘ Jorge Soler ’
* Carlos Villanueva’s Cubs debut lasted five batters on Monday. He had a long at-bat against Dee Gordon, and eventually struck him out. Then Villanueva walked the next two batters, and one out later, Nick Punto hit a two-run single and the right-hander was lifted.
Here’s the lineup:
Other pitchers on the travel squad include Jensen Lewis, Blake Parker, Michael Bowden, Robert Whitenack and Barret Loux. Birthday boy Jorge Soler, who turned 21 on Monday, also was on the travel squad.
* Nate Schierholtz was listed in the Cubs lineup at first base for Tuesday’s game at HoHoKam. Schierholtz has never played first. Ever.
“I’ve never played first, I’ve never taken any ground balls, so I’m not sure if that’s a misprint or not,” he said.
“Not really, no,” he said. “If that’s the case, I’ll have to obviously start taking ground balls before I play in a game and get a first baseman’s glove.”
He can’t borrow one from Anthony Rizzo. Wrong hand.
“I have one at home here,” he said.
Turns out, he won’t need it. There was a typo in the lineup. Schierholtz actually gets Tuesday off and Rizzo will be starting at first.
* Scott Feldman will make his Cubs debut on Thursday. He’s been getting his work in before most people have their first cup of coffee.
“I’m working on my sleeping patterns now, trying to get up a little earlier, working on getting my body moving and grooving at 8 [a.m.],” he said.
Maybe they’re getting him ready for day games at Wrigley Field.
“I’ve been getting up before it’s even light out,” he said.
* Arodys Vizcaino, recovering from Tommy John surgery, will throw his first bullpen session on Tuesday. He has already been told that he’ll be staying in Mesa after Spring Training ends for extended spring workouts, possibly for a couple months. He most likely will not get into any Cactus League games.
* Besides being Soler’s birthday, Monday also would’ve been Ron Santo’s B-day.
* Rafael Dolis was wearing a large wall clock around his neck when he went onto the field for stretching Sunday. He didn’t have to do so Monday. Dolis was given the clock by the coaching staff because he was 15 minutes late for a 7:30 a.m. meeting. Parents, you may want to consider that when your kids are tardy.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs will play their second intrasquad game on Friday at HoHoKam Stadium, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Here are the lineups:
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
On Thursday, Dale Sveum will get his first in-game look at Jorge Soler and Javier Baez. The two top prospects will take part in the Cubs’ intrasquad game at HoHoKam Stadium and bat back to back for the Blue team with Soler in left, Baez at short. The Cubs have 39 Spring Training games this year, and Soler and Baez will get lots of at-bats.
How eager is Sveum to see them?
“I’m very anxious,” Sveum said Wednesday. “Those are the guys you talk about who are on your radar in your Minor League system who have all those God-given tools — the speed, the arm, the power, hopefully, the hitting ability, meaning OPS and those things, although a lot of that stuff comes a little later in their careers. This is pretty special talent and bat speed that those guys have that you want to see in person and at game speed.”
Soler, the Cuban outfielder, turns 21 on Feb. 25; Baez, who was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2011, just turned 20 on Dec. 1.
The intrasquad game was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Arizona time at HoHoKam Stadium and was open to the public.
– Carrie Muskat
Jorge Soler reported to Cubs camp on Friday and had his first batting practice session. That may not seem like news, but watching the 6-foot-4 Cuban outfielder swing is an event. After he hit a ball over the fence in left center, Theo Epstein walked over to shake Soler’s hand, and welcome him to camp. He turns 21 on Feb. 25, and still needs time to develop but it’s fun to watch him hit.
“It’s a pretty impressive batting practice for the first day out there,” Dale Sveum said. “The ball comes off his bat like you want a ball to come off the bat if you’re a manager. I’m really, really interested to see him on the field. I’ve gotten to see him take [batting practice] and do things, but I haven’t gotten to see the instincts on the field and all that stuff. I haven’t gotten to see his arm either.”
Soler still needs time to develop. Before last season, he had played in a tournament in 2010, and then some games in the Dominican and that’s it.
“He’s still got to play and learn so much and face better pitching on a consistent basis and older pitchers who can do things,” Sveum said. “That experience factor comes in handy.”
Cubs hitting coach James Rowson went to Miami to work with Soler this offseason.
“He has the hand strength, which none of us can teach,” Sveum said. “It’s nice to watch that kind of [batting practice] but until things happen in a game is when you see why things are breaking down or why you need to make this adjustment. Does he have plate coverage? Is his bat staying in the strike zone long enough to handle a cutter on the outside part of the plate? You can go on and on.
“That’s why I’m really looking forward to games,” he said. “Mechanically, his lower half, I really like. He’s a guy who holds onto the bat with both hands, which I like, and right now, in [batting practice] it looks like it should play. It’s a pretty nice approach.”
The Cubs don’t want to rush him but when does he want to be playing in the big leagues?
“Next year,” Soler said, smiling.
– Carrie Muskat
Highly touted prospect Javier Baez will be in his first Major League Spring Training camp, but the Cubs aren’t reserving a locker for him at Wrigley Field for this season.
“When a young guy’s name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he’s close to the big leagues,” Theo Epstein said Sunday. “In this case, Javy’s not. He’s got significant development still ahead of him. We’re really impressed by everything he’s done but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. … He finished the year in high-A ball and that’s about where he’s going to start.”
Baez, 20, batted .333 at Class A Peoria with a .979 OPS, 10 doubles, 12 homers and 33 RBIs, and batted .188 in 23 games at Class A Daytona. For now, he’ll stay at shortstop although fans may see him play some second base in Cactus League games just to get him some at-bats.
“He’s a shortstop and he’s going to play shortstop,” Dale Sveum said. “If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it’ll be because of flat numbers. It’s not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else — that’ll be a development question down the road.”
The invite to the Cubs’ big league camp was made to give Baez some insight into what it’s about.
“It’s nice for the fans to be able to see him, it’s nice for us to be able to see him, but this is not about making the Major League team, this is about experience,” GM Jed Hoyer said.
The same is true for highly touted outfielder Jorge Soler. Epstein said their plan is to have players spend at least one year at Triple-A. Soler played briefly at Class A Peoria last season.
– Carrie Muskat
For those of you interested in uniform numbers for some of the new Cubs, here’s an updated list:
32 – Scott Baker
46 – Scott Feldman
71 – Trey McNutt
56 – Hector Rondon
57 – Carlos Villanueva
41 – Arodys Vizcaino
67 – Robert Whitenack
4 – Dioner Navarro
61 – Christian Villanueva
74 – Logan Watkins
19 – Nate Schierholtz
68 – Jorge Soler
76 – Drew Carpenter
77 – Dayan Diaz
60 – Jensen Lewis
85 – Barret Loux
50 – Blake Parker
63 – Zach Putnam
81 – Nick Struck
47 – Hisanori Takahashi
59 – Cory Wade
79 – J.C. Boscan
78 – Michael Brenly
82 – Rafael Lopez
70 – Javier Baez
6 – Alberto Gonzalez
20 – Brent Lillibridge
65 – Edwin Maysonet
75 – Brad Nelson
66 – Brian Bogusevic
80 – Johermyn Chavez
16 – Darnell McDonald
The Cubs had three players included in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects, revealed Tuesday night on MLB Network. The trio includes Javier Baez (ranked No. 16), and outfielders Albert Almora (No. 39) and Jorge Soler (No. 42). The annual ranking of baseball’s biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com’s Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players’ skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Baez, 20, batted .333 with 12 home runs, 10 doubles and 33 RBIs in 57 games at Class A Peoria, then hit .188 when promoted to Class A Daytona. Almora, 18, the Cubs’ top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, played for the Arizona Rookie League team and also Class A Boise last season, and combined to bat .321. Soler, who turns 21 on Feb. 25, played in the Rookie League and then Peoria last season, hitting a combined .299 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in 34 games. The Cuban outfielder signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs last June. He made Wrigley Field look small in September when he took batting practice with the Cubs, hitting five home runs, including two that cleared the left field bleachers.
– Carrie Muskat
* Feb. 21 in Mesa, Ariz. It was one of the strangest transactions in Cubs history as pitcher Chris Carpenter said goodbye to his teammates after he found out he was going to the Red Sox as the player to be named as compensation for Theo Epstein. Said Carpenter: “I guess my name will go down in history.”
* Feb. 24 in Mesa, Ariz. On the first day Starlin Castro worked out at Fitch Park, manager Dale Sveum was standing near the shortstop, offering some tips on defense. Sveum didn’t let up all season. Castro did commit 27 errors, but also showed improvement in the field.
* March 18 in Las Vegas prior to game vs. Rangers. Infielder Adrian Cardenas is as passionate about playing baseball as he is about working on his degree at New York University. Cardenas wants to write a novel about his parents and how they came to the U.S. from Cuba. He was most likely the only player in Spring Training who read three Albert Camus books in a two-week period. Said Cardenas: “I’m a better baseball player because of it.”
* April 27 in Des Moines. I talked to Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Anthony Rizzo, who were on Triple-A Iowa roster, and could hear their enthusiasm in their voices, see their work ethic, and feel the energy.
* May 18 at Wrigley Field. Rumors were flying pre-game that this would be Kerry Wood’s last game. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. The right-hander threw three pitches, all strikes, for his final strikeout, then walked off the field and was greeted by his son, Justin. Wood didn’t disappear. His Wood Family Foundation was active, and treated students at Nash Elementary School on Chicago’s west side to coats, gloves, hats and gifts as well as a visit from Santa in December. It was a pleasure to cover Wood’s career from start to finish.
* June 26 at Wrigley Field. Anthony Rizzo is promoted from Iowa, and gets two hits in his Cubs debut, including a tie-breaking RBI double, in a victory over the Mets. Four days later, Rizzo hits his first home run for the Cubs, a go-ahead two-run shot, in a 3-2 victory over the Astros. On July 29, Rizzo notched a personal milestone, hitting his first walk-off home run in a 10-inning win over the Cardinals. Said Alfonso Soriano on Rizzo’s impact: “He’s changed everything.”
* July 4 in Atlanta. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio reveals he has a deal with closer Carlos Marmol. The pitcher is not allowed to shake off his catcher on any pitch, and if he does, Marmol owes Bosio a case of wine. Marmol compiles a 1.52 ERA in the second half.
* July 22 at St. Louis. Dale Sveum asked his starting lineup to click their heels as they took the field in a tribute to Ron Santo, who was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame that day in Cooperstown. It was a terrific moment — and repeated at Wrigley Field on July 27 when the Cubs returned home.
* July 23 in St. Louis. It was Super Hero day, and players, coaches and Sveum dressed up as their favorites. Best costume? Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson as Epstein and Jed Hoyer, complete with cell phones to their ears.
* Aug. 5 in Los Angeles. Jackson and Vitters are promoted from Triple-A Iowa. Both struggled at the plate, but Jackson showed his value in the field Sept. 7 with an amazing catch then crash into the center field wall at PNC Park.
* Aug. 18 in Appleton, Wis. I watched Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler go 4-for-5 for Class A Peoria. He hit two singles, a double, and a very impressive home run to straight away center, drove in two runs, and stole a base. Can’t wait until he’s in right field at Wrigley.
* Sept. 8 at PNC Park, Pittsburgh. This was Jeff Samardzija’s last start of the season, and it showed how far he’s come. The right-hander gave up four hits in his first complete game, striking out nine. He could be the Opening Day starter in 2013.
* Oct. 3 at Wrigley Field. Bryan LaHair delivers a walkoff RBI single for a 5-4 win over the Astros in the Cubs’ season finale. It was a roller coaster ride for LaHair, who went from starting first baseman to All-Star to reserve. During batting practice on one road trip, a fan yelled congratulations to LaHair for making the All-Star team. Said LaHair: “No one can take that away from me.”
* Oct. 6 at Mesa, Ariz. I went to Instructional League to watch the young Cubs play, but this time was different. There was more energy, more noise — players and coaches picked their favorite song and it was part of batting practice background music — and lots of work. Watching the enthusiastic kids gives one optimism for the future.
* Sadly, said goodbye to Cubs Minor League pitching coach Tom Pratt and Wrigley Field umpire clubhouse attendant Jimmy Farrell. RIP.
– Carrie Muskat
Arizona Fall League
* The Arizona Fall League opens its 20th season Tuesday with three games, including the Mesa Solar Sox’s contest against the Salt River Rafters in Scottsdale at Talking Stick. The Cubs have seven players on the Solar Sox roster: Javier Baez, Rubi Silva, Kevin Rhoderick, Matt Szczur, Tony Zych, Dae-Eun Rhee, and Nick Struck, who was named the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The majority of the rosters are composed of players who competed at Double-A levels last season. Baez, who turns 20 on Dec. 1, is the youngest player in the AFL. He spent most of the season at Class A Peoria, where he batted .333 in 57 games, and also played 23 games with Class A Daytona.
AFL games run from Tuesday until Nov. 15, with the championship on Nov. 17. The Solar Sox will play at HoHoKam Park on Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. MST against the Rafters.
* There’s definitely a different sound to the Cubs’ instructional league workouts this year at Fitch Park. Tim Cossins, 42, the Cubs new Minor League field coordinator, asked players and coaches to each submit a song, and the music is played during batting practice at Fitch Park. It does help get the energy level going during workouts in the 90-plus degree heat. Cossins replaces Brandon Hyde, who was promoted to director of player development. A former catcher, Cossins played eight seasons in the Minor Leagues, and managed five seasons in the Marlins’ Minor League system, including three at the Rookie League level and two years, 2005-06, at Class A Jupiter.
On Tuesday, Trevor Gretzky made an impressive catch in left field during one of the drills. Cubs outfield instructor Lee Tinsley says Gretzky is one of the most improved players in camp. It also was a good way for Gretzky to show off in front of his parents, Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones, who were at Fitch Park.
Instructional league games finish this week, with the last game on Saturday. However, players will compete Thursday in their own “American Idol” type competition.
* Congrats to Jesse Hodges (@TCHodgy), who hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot, in Monday’s instructional league game against the Athletics. The Cubs signed Hodges after seeing him play in the World Junior Tournament in South Korea. A Canadian, he had a full scholarship at Grayson College, a junior college in Texas. His home run was well-timed as he connected in front of Cubs international scout Steve Wilson, who signed the infielder, as well as Hodges’ grandfather, who was at the game, and most of the Cubs brass, including Theo Epstein. I’ll have more on Hodges.
* Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are in Arizona this week with the Cubs scouting staff for the end of the year meetings, and a chance to see some of the young players such as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.
– Carrie Muskat