We’ll hear from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer this afternoon on the Cubs officially getting the Jorge Soler deal done. Agreement on a nine-year $30 million deal with the Cuban outfielder had been reached a couple weeks back, but there was a physical exam to take and more procedural work to be done. We’ll certainly ask Jed where Soler will start working; I’d have to think they’d send him to Arizona first.
Manager Dale Sveum said today that Chris Volstad will come up from Class AAA Iowa to pitch Tuesday night’s game in Atlanta. Volstad, who had a rough beginning of the season with the Cubs, tossed a 7-inning quality start Thursday for the I-Cubs, and Tuesday will be his regular turn in the rotation. At Iowa, Volstad is 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA after going 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA in 8 starts for the Cubs.
Ryan Dempster threw from flat ground this morning, and he’ll throw off the mound Monday in Atlanta. His return from the DL (right-lat soreness) will come after the all-star break.
Third baseman Ian Stewart has come calcification in his sore left wrist, according to Sveum. It’s looking more and more like Stewart will have to opt for surgery. Luis Valbuena has been doing fine at third base filling in for Stewart. Down at Iowa, Josh Vitters hit his 13th home run last night. Vitters now is at .292/.342/.504 for an OPS of .846. He has 13 homers, 43 RBI, 17 walks and 45 strikeouts.
Today’s Cubs lineup vs. Astros lefty J.A. Happ:
Sveum said he does not have a platoon at catcher and that Geovany Soto will get 60-70 percent of the playing time. However, he did say he’d like to keep getting Steve Clevenger’s left-handed bat in the lineup.
Brett Jackson talked with our friend Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register about his problems with striking out. He has 114 in 297 at-bats.
"I believe to master your craft, you have to battle and struggle with it," Jackson told Peterson. "In the end, this is going to be a great experience for me."
News travels fast, and Jackson was well aware of Cubs manager Dale Sveum saying it was "alarming" that he was on pace to strike out 200 times in a minor-league season. Jackson seemed to take the comments to heart.
"Obviously I've been striking out too much, so I'm cutting down on my swing and trying to be more of who I am," Jackson said to Peterson. "I was trying to be someone probably greater than who I am, and who I am is a player I think can help a team win, with the speed I have."
Jackson was 2-for-5 in Iowa’s 7-0 win over Oklahoma City. Rodrigo Lopez got the win with 6 shutout innings.
Tennessee (AA) beat Birmingham 10-8. Dallas Beeler got the win with 5 innings of 6-hit, 2-run ball. Logan Watkins extended a hit streak to 12 games.
Daytona (A) fell in the ninth inning 11-10 to Dunedin. Frank Del Valle pitched 5.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 5 runs. Roni Torreyes hit his fourth homer. Matt Szczur (.294) was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and 2 RBI. He has reached safely in all seven games since coming off the DL.
Peoria (A) fell 8-7 in walk-off fashion at Wisconsin. Michael Jensen pitched 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 6 runs. Javier Baez, last year’s No. 1 pick, was 2-for-5 with a triple.
Boise (A) fell 4-1 to Spokane. Willengton Cruz pitched 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and 1 run.