Soler suspended five games (UPDATED)

Soler suspended five games (UPDATED)

Posted by Bruce on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 12:30

Cubs president Theo Epstein is expected to address the media sometime this afternoon about the situation Wednesday night involving Cubs prospect Jorge Soler at Class A Daytona. We’ll pick things up here from our blog of this morning and add some reaction, which we’ll flesh out more in depth for the paper tomorrow and online later today. The Cubs and Giants are working out on the outfield grass as a cold rain continues to fall at Wrigley Field before the scheduled 1:20 p.m. game.

UPDATE: The Cubs confirmed that the Florida State League has suspended Soler five games. (We'll pick up with the blog as we wrote it earlier.)

UPDATE: Epstein said the Florida State League will hand down punishment today for Jorge Soler approaching the Clearwater dugout with a bat last night while playing for the Cubs' Class A Daytona team. The Cubs and Soler, according to Epstein, will accept the punishment. Theo said Soler is "tremendously remorseful" and that the Cubs "condemn the action but support the player."

This is the beginning of a four-game series, and it is the Giants’ only trip to Chicago this year. Last night’s game with the Brewers was postponed until July 30, but the Brewers make three trips to town. So we could be here awhile today.

Here is what we posted earlier today about Soler:

Soler, a member of the Cubs’ 40-man roster and owner of a nine-year, $30 million contract, charged across the field last night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark wielding a bat. Daytona manager Dave Keller was quoted by the Daytona Beach News Journal as saying the incident was “kind of like a nightmare.”

The paper reported “Soler was caught by teammates near the Threshers' dugout, and he never swung the bat. But the heralded prospect was ejected following the incident, and Keller said he did not know if there would be further punishment from the Cubs or the Florida State League.”

The incident apparently was touched off by a confrontation between Soler and Clearwater's Carlos Alonso at second base after the final play of the seventh inning. From the News Journal: “Soler slid into the base on the play, and he and Alonso exchanged words. Teammates from each side came out to separate the two, and the groups headed back to their dugouts. But Soler came sprinting back out of the Cubs' dugout — bat in hand — toward the Threshers dugout.”

“I think that he was frustrated by some things and there was some emotional things he was fighting with,” Keller told the paper. “Why he did that, I don't know. I think he was frustrated by what happened. When he slid into second base, (Alonso) ended up laying on top of him. He was laying on him so (Soler) pushed with his arm to get him off him, and I think the second baseman interpreted that the wrong way like he wanted to fight or something.”

Keller said the two sides exchanged words and that Soler was upset about some of the things said to him.

“There were two separate incidents, and there was really no fight,” Keller told the paper. “But because nobody was around him when he was running across the field with a bat … that makes things a little bit crazy.”

As a member of the 40-man roster, Soler was with the Cubs’ major-league club in spring training before he was optioned to Daytona.

The Cubs are investigating the situation into this afternoon, and they are awaiting word on a possible suspension from the Florida State League.

Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano tried to mentor both Soler and fellow prospect Javier Baez in spring training. He reiterated this morning what he said in March when asked about what he told the young players.

“Work hard and don’t pay attention to all that in the minor leagues because sometimes people like negatives,” said Soriano, who added that he’ll try to call Soler today or tomorrow. “Don’t think about that (negative stuff). Just play hard, and sooner or later, you’ll be in the big leagues if you do the right things.

“Focus on playing baseball and that’s it. I talked to him a lot in spring training. He looked to be like a nice guy, a quiet guy. I was surprised.”

Manager Dale Sveum also said he was sorting through the situation, but said he was surprised.

“Anything like that is surprising,” he said. “The circumstances, you don’t know. You weren’t there so it’s so hard to (know) what set somebody off. You’ve got to find out all the details. I really don’t know all the details except it was obviously an incident you want back.

“I don’t think when you’re in the minor leagues or doing anything like that, anybody really knows or cares about how much money you’ve got. The guy’s obviously a good player and going to be a really good player. You just have to be able to handle your emotions, that’s all.

“He seems like a very poised young man that came to play every day, very quiet, very unassuming guy. You can tell he had a lot of poise, and he was very mature of his age.”

On the field today, the Cubs send Scott Feldman against the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong.

“Every game is always important and who you play,” Sveum said. “They have some of the best pitching, if not the best pitching in baseball. Their bullpen is very versatile with three left-handers out there, and obviously, their right-handers get everyone out, too. It’s going to be one of those where we have to pitch. We have to get the right guys out and keep the other guys off the bases. It’s a tough team because they have so many switch hitters. It’s tough to match up out of the bullpen. You have to take advantage, right now I think, of some of the inconsistencies they have in their starting rotation. So we’re going to have to score some runs off, obviously, quality pitchers. Hopefully, they’re still struggling like they have been.”

Cubs go like this:

DeJesus, CF
Castro, SS
Rizzo, 1B
Soriano, LF
Schierholtz, RF
Castillo, C
Valbuena, 3B
Lillibridge, 2B
Feldman, P

As far as someone delivering a goat head to the Cubs yesterday, Sveum said: “It’s just obviously an unfortunate fan doing something pretty stupid.”

MINOR-LEAGUE ROUNDUP

The Kane County Cougars (A) ended their homestand 2-5 with a 10-4 loss to Clinton. Tayler Scott lasted just 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 4 runs. He walked five and struck out no one. Rock Shoulders (.467) was 2-for-5, extending a hit streak to seven games. He has recorded 2 or more hits in five straight.

Class AAA Iowa won its first game of the season, beating Round Rock 3-2. Starter Drew Carpenter got the win, pitching 5 innings and giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. He walked two and struck out four. Catcher Luis Flores hit his first homer. Ryan Sweeney (.438) was 2-for-5. Edwin Maysonet was 2-for-3. Yoanner Negriin worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Blake Parker became the franchise’s all-time saves leader, going 1.1 scoreless to notch his 35th career save for Iowa.

Class AA Tennessee lost its third in a row, 6-2 to Chattanooga. Dallas Beeler took the loss, working 6 innings and giving up 6 hits and 2 runs while walking one and striking out three. Justin Bour hit his first homer. Rubi Silva was 2-for-4.

Class A Daytona, aside from the Soler situation, fell 14-9 as Clearwater got 5 in the 11th. Dustin Geiger hit his first homer. Zeke DeVoss hit his second, and Taiwan Easterling hit his first. DeVoss has homered in two straight.

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