Cubs hope hamstring issues are in the past for Jorge Soler

Cubs hope hamstring issues are in the past for Jorge Soler
June 27, 2014, 4:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Cubs feel like they've gotten to the bottom of Jorge Soler's hamstring issues.

Soler, one of the organization's top prospects, has been hampered all season by hamstring problems. First, he injured his left hamstring early in the season and then followed that up with a right hamstring issue in mid-May.

As such, Soler, rated as Baseball America's No. 41 prospect entering 2014, has only appeared in seven games for Double-A Tennessee.

Right now, the Cubs have Soler getting back into game shape in the Rookie League in Arizona, where he hit a home run Thursday night.

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"He DH'ed. Walked twice, hit a home run, popped up. He's sort of pushing the hamstring," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said at Wrigley Field Friday. "He's had two hamstring issues this year. At that point, it becomes more than a freak thing; it's a pattern."

To try to rectify the injury situation, the Cubs have run all kinds of tests on the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder.

"We did a full-body assessment," Epstein said. "We tried to take a real close look in terms of whole body anatomy and biomechanically. We thought maybe there were some ways we could reprogram his posture and muscle distribution on his body - posterior and anterior - to allow him the way his feet work and hit the ground.

"There are some small adjustments we can make to where it won't happen again, it won't become a chronic thing. He's put in the work to have that happen and we're just kind of easing him back into full game mode and hope it continues to go well. It won't be too long before he's in Tennessee."

When he's been on the field this year, Soler has shown flashes of his potential with seven doubles and a 1.032 OPS in seven games with Double-A Tennessee.

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He posted a .281/.343/.467 line in Advanced Class-A Daytona last year with eight homers and five steals in 55 games. He missed most of the second half of the season after fouling a ball off his left shin and suffering a leg fracture, but he did make it back on the field for the Arizona Fall League, where he played alongside Kris Bryant and Albert Almora.

Hamstring injuries are fickle by nature, so the Cubs understand issues may crop up again in the future.

"There are no guarantees, but we're reassured because we looked at him as thoroughly as we've ever looked at any player," Epstein said. "He's got no chronic issues, no soft tissue issues. He's a perfectly healthy guy.

"It's just sort of balance and posture that can be a little better and our guys have gotten to the bottom of that."