The Cubs blanked the Cardinals last night 3-0, thanks to a couple RBI singles by Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo, and a solid pitching performance from Chris Rusin (and James Russell, Blake Parker, Pedro Strop and Kevin Gregg).
- The win brought the Cubs to within 15 games of the Cardinals in the NL Central, which is at once a joke, and a commentary on the NL East, where the Braves lead the second place Nationals by 15.5 games. The Cubs trail the division-leading Pirates by 19 games, however.
- Jorge Soler, recovering from a stress fracture in his tibia, will be examined in Chicago on Monday to determine his progress, per Cubs.com. Soler is now within the window in which it was hypothesized he could return to action, but everyone already seems to be talking about the Arizona Fall League (October) rather than him seeing some action before the minor league seasons end later this month. Hopefully that’s simply because the AFL is fun to talk about (and it is), and not because it’s already a forgone conclusion that Soler will not play again this season. Whether he returns this month or not, the AFL is a strong possibility for Soler, who has very limited game action over the last few years, thanks to injury and defection.
- In the same Cubs.com piece, Jed Hoyer notes that Kris Bryant – currently destroying at Boise – is a candidate for a promotion soon. I’d expect to see him at Kane County or Daytona soon to finish out the year. That Cubs.com piece is actually a great read on a variety of prospect-related topics, including thoughts from Hoyer on AAA starter Kyle Hendricks.
- It also has an estimate on Albert Almora’s return from his latest injury (groin), which is about 10 to 14 days. The article says that Almora is a candidate for the AFL, which would be something of a surprise, given his youth. Per league rules, only one of Soler or Almora could be in the AFL, however, as only one player below the AA level (player has to be in AA by August 1) is permitted per organization. There’s also this rule, which would seem to exclude both players: “To be eligible, players on Minor League disabled lists must be activated at least 45 days before the conclusion of their respective seasons.” I’m pretty sure that’s, like, not accurate, or is some kind of oversimplification. You’re telling me a guy is ineligible if he misses a week in late July with a sore back? That doesn’t make any sense – and would definitely exclude Soler from participating, and no one has suggested he cannot – so I’m pretty much ignoring that rule. In fact, as I think about it, that makes me question all of the roster rules listed on that page. Maybe Almora and Soler both could be eligible, and the entire list of rules on that page are dated, ill-written, or flat-out incorrect.
- Wherever they wind up playing, both Almora and Soler are candidates to play in some post-season league, given the time they’ve missed. It might be the prospect-laden AFL, or it might be a Winter League in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.
- Dioner Navarro is not expected to head to the disabled list today, after the team doctor diagnosed him with a Grade One ankle sprain, following that nasty collision at the plate with Chase Utley. Navarro must be some kind of super beast to have suffered only a minor ankle sprain on that play.