Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jorge soler watching ball goJorge Soler ended last month on a high note going 11-for-38 (.289 average) with 6 extra-base hits (.500 slugging percentage) in his last 10 May games. But an ankle injury suffered in the Cubs’ June 1 win against Miami has him sidelined.

He is hopeful for a quick return, telling CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney (via coach/interpreter Franklin Font) he feels good and does not expect to be on the disabled list for longer than 15 days.

Original estimates had Soler missing anywhere between three and six weeks.

Soler played in all 49 of the team’s games prior to his injury and the Cubs were 27-20 in games he started.

He also played in 24 of 31 games after being called up on Aug. 27.

Soler is eligible to return June 18, which is the second game in a five-game stretch in American League parks. The Cubs could stand to use him as a designated hitter as a measure to ease him back into action, assuming he meets his own estimated timeline for a return – which seems optimistic.

Right-handers Neil Ramirez and Jacob Turner are also making progress in their respective recoveries from shoulder inflammation.

Turner, currently on the 60-day DL, threw 56 pitches (32 strikes) over 3.2 innings in an extended spring training rehab stint, according to Arizona Phil at TCR. He allowed four singles and two walks, while striking out two. His fastball velocity was reportedly at 93-94 over the last two innings after starting at 91-92 early.

Ramirez threw 25 pitches in two innings in a simulated game. There is still no set timetable for his return, though Joe Maddon told ESPN that Ramirez was getting close to a rehab assignment.

Speaking of injuries and the bullpen: Rafael Soriano is still connected with the Cubs as the team searches for bullpen help. The 35-year-old right-hander comes with inherent injury concerns (shoulder, 2003; Tommy John surgery, 2004) but hasn’t been on a disabled list since an elbow injury sent him to the DL in 2011.

However, he has seen a decrease in velocity in recent years, and it’s not clear just how impactful he could be at this point. With Turner and Ramirez on the mend, it’s possible that the Cubs could decide to just wait things out and try and improve the bullpen internally.

Finally, there’s not too much to say on Mike Olt (wrist) just yet, but he is taking batting practice:

With Tommy La Stella out for a still un-set period of time (oblique) and Javier Baez now injured, it would be nice to have Olt available sooner rather than later.

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