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Russell debuts; Soler, Bryant, Baez homer

7/7/2014

As former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was making his debut for the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, so was the key player the Cubs got in return in the weekend trade for the All-Star right-hander.

Addison Russell went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts for Double-A Tennessee, while Cuban slugger Jorge Soler returned from a hamstring injury to belt a home run in the Smokies' 9-1 victory over Birmingham.

Batting third and playing shortstop, the 20-year-old Russell came to the plate several times with men on base but failed to drive any in. He was acquired Friday night along with pitcher Dan Straily and minor league outfielder Bill McKinney in exchange for Samardzija and pitcher Jason Hammel.

Soler followed Russell in the order, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs, including his first home run of the season in the sixth inning. Soler has been limited to eight games this season, spending most of the spring and summer in Arizona rehabbing two different hamstring injuries.

At Triple-A Iowa, meanwhile, both Kris Bryant and Javier Baez went deep in the Iowa Cubs' 5-4 victory over Oklahoma City. Bryant hit his eighth home run at Triple-A and 30th overall in the minors this season one day after being named the Cubs' minor league player of the month for June. Baez, who has picked up his game again since Bryant's arrival, went deep for the 13th time this season. Manny Ramirez also went 2-for-4 in the game.

Pitcher Kyle Hendricks was pulled from that game after two innings in anticipation of his major league debut later this week. The Cubs have already announced that lefty Tsuyoshi Wada will start Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds as the Cubs look to fill the rotation spots vacated by Samardzija and Hammel.

Righty Dallas Beeler made his major league debut last week, which means that, in less than two weeks, the Cubs will have seen three pitchers make their first starts in the bigs.