WMBD/WYZZ-TV STAFF - PEORIA, IL- The Chicago Cubs and Peoria Chiefs have announced that Cuban-born outfielder Jorge Soler will join the Chiefs roster for the Thursday night game in Burlington, Iowa. To make room on the roster for the 20-year-old, infielder Kenny Socorro has been placed on the disabled list with a right ankle strain.
Soler, who established residency in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, was a highly sought after free agent in the off-season and officially signed by the Cubs on June 30 to a nine-year major league deal and placed on the 40-man roster. Soler made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League with the Mesa Cubs on July 19 and hit .241 with two homers, two doubles and 10 RBI in 14 games. He hit his first professional home run in his second game on July 22 and that was also his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game. Soler homered again on July 24 with a career-high three RBI to kick off a four-game hit streak. He hit safely in three straight games before going 0-for-4 in his final AZL game on Wednesday night.
In 14 games, Soler has six walks and 14 runs scored while also going 8-for-8 in the stolen base department. He stole three bases on August 1 against the AZL Indians in game one of a double header and then two more on Tuesday. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound outfielder has not committed an error while playing nine games in right field with his other five starts coming as the Mesa designated hitter.
Born on February 25, 1992 in Havana, Cuba, Soler played for Cuba at several international tournaments including the 16-under COPABE Pan American Championships in Mexico in 2008 and the 2010 World Junior Championships in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. In the latter tournament he hit .305 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .522 slugging percentage in seven games as Cuba won the bronze medal. Soler has been Cuban Junior National Team teammates with current Chiefs catcher Yaniel Cabezas and 2012 Chiefs Yasiel Balaguert and Gerardo Concepcion. Chiefs hitting coach Barbaro Garbey was born in Cuba and defected in 1980 before playing for the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. The Chiefs also had Cuban-born Rubi Silva and Juan Serrano on their roster in 2011. Soler joins Concepcion, currently on the disabled list, as 2012 Chiefs to be on the Cubs 40-man roster.
The first chance for Chiefs fans to see Soler at home is Wednesday, August 15 with 25 cent hot dogs and a 7:00 p.m. start against Burlington. The Chiefs are also home on the 16th and 17th with 7:00 p.m. starts. Thursday is a Thirsty Thursday with $1.00 draft beers and the first 1000 fans on Friday get a Javier Baez t-shirt with his name and number 25 on the back.
The Peoria Chiefs battled through a 37 minute rain delay and stranded the tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 win over the Burlington Bees on Thursday night. The win evens the series and moves the Chiefs to 18-28 in the second half and 53-62 on the season.