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Theo cautions about Cubs’ bright signs

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Updated: August 25, 2014 5:54PM



Cubs team president Theo Epstein was asked before Wednesday night’s game if Jorge Soler could get a late-season callup. Promoted late Tuesday to Class AAA Iowa, Soler had recovered from leg injuries to hit .415 with an .862 slugging percentage in 22 games at Class AA Tennessee.

‘‘We’re not going to make any decisions now, nor are we going to talk too much about possible promotions,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘Just let it play out.’’

Epstein and the Cubs will do that for a while even as evidence of progress continues to mount. In addition to Soler’s promotion Tuesday, Albert Almora rose to Tennessee, making the franchise’s future start to feel closer and closer.

‘‘Guys are chipping away, getting better moving forward, and I think those guys are starting to step it up now and starting to get comfortable where they’ve been at,’’ Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Soler and Almora. ‘‘Now they’re making forward progress.’’

Couple that with Arismendy Alcantara’s contributions to the major-league team and what Kris Bryant and Javy Baez have done in the minors, and it’s possible 2015 will feel different than the first three seasons of the Epstein rebuild. If that’s true, the years of tearing down and struggling could be over.

But Epstein stressed there’s still plenty of work to be done despite the excitement from fans and pundits about where the franchise might be headed. Even when the prospects become major-leaguers, there will be growing pains and difficult moments.

‘‘You have to balance it out because we don’t deserve to be on the cover of magazines — we don’t deserve to really be lauded right now because we haven’t done anything yet,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘At best, what we’ve done is put ourselves in a position to make a lot of interesting decisions going forward and hopefully have two of the most important currencies in the game — impactful young players and available payroll dollars and make some hay, but we’re not there yet. We haven’t accomplished any of it yet.’’

As Epstein pointed out, the Cubs are in last place in the National League Central. They lost 8-3 on Wednesday against the visiting San Diego Padres, with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada taking his second loss in his second major-league start.

‘‘We’re in last place, so almost by definition our work lies ahead of us. It’s not behind us,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘What do we have to do? We have everything to do. We have to continue to build an organization. We have to continue to improve the major-league team. That generation, they’re going to break in at some point, and then the process of adjusting to the big leagues starts.”

NOTE: Team president Theo Epstein and manager Rick Renteria said struggling Mike Olt took his demotion to Class AAA well.

‘‘I think it was the appropriate move at the appropriate time,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘He handled the news very well. I think he looks at it as an opportunity.’’



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