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jorge soler cubsStay tuned for a big announcement later today. July is here, which means the Trade Deadline approaches – and it’s time for us to do some good while having some fun. Details soon. I’ll thank you very much for your attention.

Until then, Bullets …

  • It sounds like today could be a big test for Jorge Soler as he recovers from his ongoing hamstring issues. Jed Hoyer told Cubs.com that Soler is scheduled to play a full nine innings today in Mesa, something he hasn’t yet done in his rehab assignment there. If that goes well, Soler could head back to AA Tennessee “soon.” That could mean later this week, or perhaps next week, but, in either case, a healthy Soler will have the chance to play about two months at AA. Your dream optimistic scenario is that Soler stays healthy in those two months, handles the league with aplomb, makes up some lost at bats in the Fall or Winter in an organized league, and then starts 2015 at AAA – which is more or less on a normal promotion schedule. Soler has been out since mid-May after suffering a hamstring injury just a week after returning from an injury to his other hamstring. The good news, such as it is: although Soler has battled injuries the last two years, whenever he’s been able to play, he’s hit. The Cubs have worked hard to get the hamstring issues under control, and hopefully this won’t become a chronic thing or derail his development.
  • You don’t bank on Soler, 22, being a part of the big league outfield picture in 2015, obviously, but it’s fair to think about just how huge it would be if he did emerge as a possibility there by May or June next year. This is a guy who, despite missing time defecting, and then missing time intermittently with injuries, walks at a 9% clip as a pro, strikes out just 15% of the time, has an ISO near .200 – in other words, he’s a disciplined hitter who also hits for big power. This is a guy who could break out in a big way if he can just stay on the field.
  • The news is a little more amorphous on C.J. Edwards, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect who has been out most of the year with a sore shoulder. Jed Hoyer told the Tribune that Edwards was throwing in Mesa (he hasn’t been appearing in AZL games, though), but there’s no time line for when he’ll return to AA Tennessee. If he’s not in games yet, I wouldn’t look for him until mid-to-late July at the very earliest. Hoyer mentioned that Edwards could add some innings after the season, if necessary.
  • Whenever I see an iteration of this type of phrase, “Jake Arrieta flirts with no-hitter,” I can’t help but imagine Arrieta talking, “Hey there, No-Hitter. How you doin’ tonight? Lookin’ good, girl. I like your round zeroes.” Obviously Arrieta’s second straight serious no-hit/perfect game bid is the highlight of what happened yesterday, but that’ll get its own treatment, together with more praise of Arrieta’s development.
  • Tony Andracki writes at length about Manny Ramirez’s arrival in Iowa, and what he’s done already for young Cubs players.
  • Anthony Rizzo talked to Cubs.com about his time in Boston, where he dealt with a whole lot, and how he admires the success the Red Sox have had.
  • (When you get down in that piece, by the way, don’t get overly excited when you see the Home Run Derby fan vote thing – it reads like you get to pick three of the players in the Derby for each league, but when you actually click on the link, and read down, it says the votes won’t actually decide anything. Instead, it is “just for fun,” even though it very much looks like you’re picking the players. Instead, it looks like MLB.com wants to get you on its mailing list. Kinda shifty, MLB.com.)

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