MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs weren't planning on bringing up outfielder Jorge Soler this season. But they did want to get him a full season of development in the minor leagues.
That won't happen now as Soler may be done for the season after suffering a stress fracture in his left tibia.
Soler fouled a pitch off his left shin in spring training, said team president Theo Epstein. The injury cropped up again with Soler playing for the Cubs' Class A Daytona affiliate. He will be in a walking boot for the next 4-6 weeks. It's questionable whether he'll play again this season.
"It's too bad," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "Obviously, there's a chance it could be right to the end of the year. You never know with something like that. To lose that possibly two months of development, his first year of playing every day, now you miss that first season of playing 142 games, every day. It's unfortunate. Hopefully, he can play some winter ball somewhere and pick up those at-bats."
Soler, 21, signed a nine-year, $30 million major-league contract last summer after defecting from Cuba.
At Daytona this year in 55 games, he has a line of .281/.343/.467 with 8 homers, 35 RBI, 21 walks and 38 strikeouts.
"Some of the docs are fairly optimistic he could have almost a full month at the end of the season," said team president Theo Epstein, who joined the team in Milwaukee and got set to head to Seattle as the road trip continues. "I think that's maybe a little aggressive, but I think he'll probably play again this season. Then, we're going to strongly consider trying to get him into the Arizona Fall League so he can make up those at-bats."
Another in the fold:
The Cubs announced the signing Thursday of fourth-round draft pick Tyler Skulina, a right-handed pitcher out of Kent State University.
Skulina, 21, went 6-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 15 games this past season, walking 34 and striking out 102.
The Cubs have signed 18 players from this year's draft, including four top-five picks, eight top-10 picks and 15 top-20 picks.
Yet to sign is first-rounder (second overall) Kris Bryant, a third baseman out of the University of San Diego. The Cubs have until July 12 to sign picks, and reportedly, they and Bryant are not close on terms.
Taking and giving punches:
Backup catcher Dioner Navarro took a foul ball off the chin part of his mask Thursday, but stayed in the game. Navarro hit his seventh homer, a 3-run shot in the third inning. He has 17 RBI for the season. No. 1 catcher Welington Castillo has 2 homers and 12 RBI.
"I'm OK," Navarro said. "It kind of got me right in the chin. I can take some punishment. After a few minutes, I was just fine."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.