Jorge Soler goes deep in first at-bat; Cubs fall 7-5 to Reds
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Sports Reporter August 27, 2014 9:56PM
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Updated: August 27, 2014 11:06PM
CINCINNATI — Just before touted prospect Jorge Soler made his much-heralded Cubs debut Wednesday, he was told about the home run hit by the Cubs’ other “core” prospect on the roster, Javy Baez, in his celebrated debut three weeks ago.
Soler smiled. “Si,” he said.
Or maybe it was “see.”
It took Soler all of one swing in the majors, on a 2-1 pitch in the second inning, for him to hit his first home run — a 423-foot shot off Mat Latos in the Cubs’ 7-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
He and Baez are the first pair of teammates under the age of 23 to hit home runs in debuts in the same season in major-league history.
The 22-year-old outfielder — who told Cubs officials when he came off the disabled list in July to “watch this; this is my time” — added a run-scoring single during the Cubs’ eighth-inning comeback bid.
“On a rate basis he was one of the most productive hitters in all of minor-league baseball,” said team president Theo Epstein, whose front office bumped up the timeline on his call-up by a week because of his torrid-hitting response to a recent mini slump.
“He comes to the big leagues with a lot of momentum but with an awful lot to learn and adjustments to make as well.”
Like when he popped up the first pitch he saw after the home run for an easy out in the fourth and struck out swinging in the sixth.
But Soler, who looks more like a linebacker than a right fielder, certainly held his own in his debut and doesn’t lack for self-esteem.
Asked how confident he is that he’ll stay in the big leagues and be in next year’s Opening Day lineup, he said, “I have a lot of confidence.”
And those already in the clubhouse took notice of what’s going on with guys such as Soler and Baez breaking in.
“The expectation now is to win,” Anthony Rizzo said. “Guys will develop and get their at-bats in, but at the same time we want to win now.”