8/31/2014 2:41 P.M. ET
Soler 'so excited' for Wrigley Field debut
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Jorge Soler doesn't have anything planned for the first time he runs out to right field at Wrigley on Monday for his home debut.
Soler, who did not start Sunday in the Cubs' series finale against the Cardinals, will make his first home start when the team opens a three-game series against the National League Central-leading Brewers. Hopefully, the fans salute the newest arrival.
"I will be excited, so excited," Soler said through an interpreter, coach Franklin Font. "It's my first game at Wrigley in the big leagues."
Soler has already set a first. According to Elias, he is the first player in the Major Leagues with an extra-base hit and an RBI in his first four games. Soler was 8-for-15 since he was promoted from Triple-A Iowa last Wednesday.
When Sammy Sosa took right field for the Cubs, he would blow kisses to the fans in the bleachers. Soler will likely trot out to right and flash his megawatt smile.
"I think everybody's excited about all these guys," manager Rick Renteria said of the Cubs prospects. "I'm sure there will be some enthusiasm and some desire to see [Soler]. They've been talked about a lot. I think people have been waiting anxiously to see part of the future, and rightfully so. These guys are pretty exciting players. We're seeing it firsthand. Hopefully, [Soler will] have a good day, and people will be excited about what they see."
Soler's father will join him at Wrigley Field on Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Pirates. Jorge Soler Sr. said his son started playing baseball when he was 5 years old, and he was always the largest kid in his class, beginning in kindergarten.
Jorge Sr. was a pitcher in Cuba and taught his son the game. How did Soler learn to be patient at the plate? His father said it was because pitchers were afraid to pitch to him because of his size. Soler's Cuban coaches also stressed the importance of good discipline at the plate.
"In the beginning, it was hard to make an adjustment and make the transition from playing in Cuba, coming to the states," Soler said. "Now I feel I'm making the adjustments, and I have confidence."
Soler hasn't stopped learning, taking advantage of lessons from Manny Ramirez, who the Cubs hired as a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa.
"I learned a lot from Manny," Soler said. "When I was with him in Iowa, he was always talking to me about hitting, about personal stuff, what I'm doing on the field, off the field. He's a tremendous person. I always tried to be around him and tried to be the best I can."
Soler homered in his first at-bat in the big leagues last Wednesday in Cincinnati, and he heard from Ramirez after.
"He was so happy about my home run," Soler said. "He [sent me a text] and called me and said, 'I know you can do that. I know you can do better. Keep doing it.'"
"He's a very gifted athlete, a very gifted baseball player," Renteria said of Soler. "It's exciting for all of us, in the limited time, to see him do what he's done."
Cubs hoping Rizzo can return for start of homestand
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs hope first baseman Anthony Rizzo can return to the lineup Monday after missing five days because of tightness in his lower back.
Rizzo has not played since he was pulled from last Tuesday's game in Cincinnati when his back tightened up during a rain delay.
"He's still day to day," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Sunday. "He came in [Saturday] and wanted to play. We have to make sure we're prudent and playing this smart. We'll give him another day and when we get back, we'll see how he's doing."
The Cubs open a six-game homestand Monday against the National League Central-leading Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Turner appreciates Matheny's help through career
ST. LOUIS -- Jacob Turner had hoped to say hello to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny during the Cubs' weekend series, but didn't connect until an awkward moment on Friday. Turner was leaving Busch Stadium at the same time as Matheny, a few hours after the Cubs beat the Cardinals, 7-2.
"He's been a help for me throughout my career," Turner said Sunday of Matheny. "I knew him before he was the Cardinals manager. I think he's done a great job with them and has helped me, especially when I first got drafted, on what to expect from professional baseball."
Turner grew up in St. Charles, Mo., and went to the same high school, Westminster Christian Academy, as Matheny's son, Tate. Turner was a senior when Tate was a freshman.
"He helped me out on what to expect," said Turner, who was the Tigers' first-round pick in 2009. "Everybody sees the big leagues and all the glamour, but there's a lot before that. He definitely helped me out in terms of that.
"He has a lot of knowledge, and being a catcher, he can tell you a lot of things that can help as a pitcher," Turner said. "He's been more of a friend than anything else. We stay in touch in the offseason when we have more time."
On Monday, Turner will make his first start ever at Wrigley Field when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Brewers. He's 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA in four career games (three starts) against Milwaukee.
"I haven't started there as a visiting player, so I'm definitely excited," Turner said. "I'm looking to build on some of the things that me and [pitching coach Chris Bosio] have been working on."
• Edwin Jackson threw a light bullpen session on Saturday, and the Cubs are continuing to monitor the right-hander's progress. Jackson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with a right lat strain.
"We'll continue to monitor and see how he's doing," Renteria said. "We haven't set any hard dates. We'll see how he progresses and continue to make adjustments."
Jackson's last start was Aug. 20, and he is 6-14 with a 6.09 ERA in 26 starts this season.
• The Cubs have yet to sort out their soon-to-be six-man rotation. Felix Doubront, who picked up the win in his first start with the Cubs on Saturday, will be inserted into the mix for the final month. The Cubs have an off-day Thursday, and they have yet to announce who will start a three-game series against the Pirates, which opens on Friday at Wrigley Field.
• The Cubs will likely add one relief pitcher on Monday when rosters expand, then call up a few more players once Triple-A Iowa's season is over. Iowa didn't make the playoffs and will play its last regular-season game Monday against Oklahoma City.
• It isn't often that a visiting player catches a ceremonial first pitch, but Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller did just that on Sunday. Mueller was behind the plate to catch a pitch from retiring DeSmet Jesuit High School coach Greg Vitello. Vitello was Mueller's coach, and is retiring after 35 years as the baseball coach.
• The Cubs will honor the Jackie Robinson West Little League team on Monday at Wrigley Field. The Chicago team won the U.S. title in the Little League World Series, and will meet some of the players prior to the game. They also will sing the seventh inning stretch from the field.
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.