8/28/2014 1:05 P.M. ET
Recovering from back injury, Rizzo out of lineup again
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo did not start for a second straight day Thursday because of tightness in his lower back, but he hopes to return to the Cubs' lineup Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Cardinals.
Rizzo said he couldn't get his back loose after a 50-minute rain delay Tuesday against the Reds, and he asked to come out of the game as a precaution.
"There wasn't one thing I did that hurt it," Rizzo said. "It just grabbed me. I'm not too worried about it. It's just frustrating."
Rizzo was able to loosen up on Wednesday, and he received treatment most of the day. He woke up Thursday feeling better.
"Hopefully, I can get it loose and keep it loose for a while," Rizzo said.
Rizzo said his back bothers him when he extends it, which is what he does on his swings.
"Obviously, going through a swinging motion grabs at it, too," Rizzo said. "Hopefully, today it gets a lot better. I don't think it's going to get any worse. I'll just gut through it, worst case."
Rizzo has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and keeping the team masseuse busy.
"No one is 100 percent healthy right now," Rizzo said.
Soler's first game, homer brings 'exciting news'
CINCINNATI -- Jorge Soler did get the ball from his first big league home run. And he got rave reviews from his Cubs teammates.
Soler hit a 2-1 fastball from the Reds' Mat Latos 423 feet to straightaway center in his first Major League at-bat Wednesday in the second inning of the Cubs' 7-5 loss.
"He was in a hitter's count, 2-0, and didn't get overanxious," Anthony Rizzo said Thursday. "He took a strike and put a nice swing on the ball. For everyone who has been following us and chattering about the future, it's exciting news for the organization.
"It's definitely exciting being here and sitting back and watching. Hearing [the media] talk about [the prospects] over and over and over and over and over again since Spring Training this year [is tiring]. Now that they're here, it's very exciting. Cubs fans have a lot to be excited about."
Cubs coach Jose Castro liked Soler's approach at the plate, too.
"Last night, he showed plate discipline and understanding what they're trying to do right off the bat," Castro said. "That's really big for a 22-year-old to show that kind of aptitude."
Cubs manager Rick Renteria is well aware there will be what he calls "hiccups" in the development of the young players.
"But in the end, the city of Chicago should be pretty excited and proud of the things that are coming together," Renteria said. "I know it's not the final product by any means, but there is reason to be hopeful if all the pieces play out. It will give us something pretty positive moving forward."
Coghlan imparts wisdom to rookies Baez, Soler
CINCINNATI -- Chris Coghlan didn't make a splash in his Major League debut as Jorge Soler or Javier Baez did, but he learned from it.
Coghlan's first big league game was May 8, 2009, with the Marlins in Colorado, and he went 2-for-4. That began a stellar season for the outfielder, who finished with a .321 batting average and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Coghlan's advice to youngsters like Baez and Soler, who made their debuts this year?
"Don't read anything, don't watch anything -- but that's what you do when you're a rookie," Coghlan said. "You can't blame them. Soler probably stayed up and watched himself hit a home run on ESPN [Wednesday night]. Enjoy it.
"I remember doing that. One time I hit two homers in one game, and I waited for 40 minutes to see it on 'Baseball Tonight,' and they didn't show either one. I was like, I'm done. From that point, I never stayed up again to watch."
Coghlan admits there's only so much the players can control.
"It's a new story ... it's exciting, because this is what's been pitched for the last couple years [with the Cubs]," Coghlan said. "There's really a lot that's out of their hands."
Coghlan also made his big league debut on the road, and he credited Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein for planning that for Soler.
"He's smart with that stuff," Coghlan said of Epstein. "Another thing is that each guy who has come up has come to a hitter-friendly park. I don't think that's by accident. I think on the road is smart. There's a little bit less pressure. As soon as he goes home, there will be 50 people at his locker. It's better to make it on the road, then go home after a couple days and you still deal with it, but it's not as crazy."
So far, Soler and Baez, who hit a game-winning home run in the 12th inning of his first big league game, seem to have handled the promotions well.
"When you come up here, everything is going 1,000 miles an hour," Coghlan said. "Enjoy it."
• Cubs outfielder Justin Ruggiano, placed on the disabled list Wednesday with left foot inflammation, flew to Dallas to see a specialist on Thursday.
Ruggiano -- who was batting .323 games with nine doubles, four homers and 20 RBIs his last 44 games -- was to be reevaluated.
• Triple-A Iowa opens its final homestand Friday, and the club needs to win all four games against Oklahoma City to make the playoffs. Northern Division leader Omaha would have to lose three of its final five games in order for Iowa to win the division. Lefty Chris Rusin (8-13, 4.24 ERA) was scheduled to start on Friday for Iowa.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.