The stray suggestions that became whispers that became rumors that became reports are true, and it’s happening: Jorge Soler is headed to the 15-day disabled list, and Albert Almora will be coming up from AAA Iowa to replace him on the 25-man roster.
Almora, 22, is best known for his sterling defense in the outfield – truly, it’s something to behold – but he’s held his own offensively in his first go-around at AAA, hitting .318/.335/.444. He’s an extreme contact guy, which often works to Almora’s disadvantage (yielding weaker contact on pitcher’s pitches), and the walks are not a part of his game right now. Hopefully he gets a taste here of the big leagues, works with the coaches and players, and eventually heads back to AAA with an idea of how to keep improving his game.
I say it that way because the expectation, right now, is not that Almora will become an every game starter, even in Soler’s absence. He could always play himself into that kind of role, of course, but I suspect he’s more likely to work in periodically as part of the rotation (not entirely unlike Soler had been), and will be used as a late-game defensive stud.
Almora is not starting tonight, though he could make his big league debut at some point.
The time table for his return depends a great deal on the severity of the strain, so I guess we’ll continue to wait on that front – and the time table might be further difficult to predict when it comes to a guy who has had hamstring injuries before (extra caution might be necessary). Still, even the mildest of strains typically cost players three to four weeks these days, and I think expecting better than that right now for Soler – from a fan perspective – would be setting yourself up for disappointment.
We’ll get a better picture of things in the coming days, but for today, it’s such a bummer. The guy was finally, consistently putting it together. Had been for nearly a month.
And now he’ll have to sit.