- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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The Chicago Cubs have always been confident in Jorge Soler’s talent, it was the assimilation to life in the United States that figured to be the biggest early test.
With everything going well so far, the Cubs say a promotion out of the Arizona Rookie League is under consideration for the Cuba native, who made his nine-year, $30 million contract official on June 30.
After 5 ½ weeks of life in the U.S., the Cubs have been pleased with Soler’s progress, although with a long stretch of inactivity as he waited for his contract situation to be resolved, the right-handed hitter is still rounding into top form after workouts in Mesa, Ariz., and 13 games (50 at-bats) in the Arizona Rookie League.
“As far as the assimilation, and not having a ton of experience with the (high-level) Cuban players, it’s going as well as it can because of the person he is and the fact that he is very engaging,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development. “He’s soaking up as much as he can on and off the field and is getting along with all of his teammates.”
After missing three games this weekend with a minor medical issue, Soler is back in action with the Cubs’ Mesa team and is continuing to refine his game. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI on Tuesday night against the Angels’ rookie league team and is now batting .260 overall with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
Impressive to see has been Soler's perfect 8-for-8 mark in steals, including two more on Tuesday and three in the opener of a doubleheader on Aug. 1.
“On the baseball side of things it’s taken him a little while to get his timing back,” said McLeod, who was in Arizona on Tuesday observing the Mesa club. “He went so long without seeing live pitching while getting his documentation order. He’s been playing a couple of weeks, and he’s not all the way back from last November (while playing in the winter league), but surely he is on his way.”
McLeod admitted that a promotion could happen soon, although he gave no indication where the outfielder might be playing next. The logical route would be for him to go to short-season Boise in the Northwest League, with an outside chance he could eventually end up at Peoria before the end of the Midwest League season on Sept. 3.