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Chicago Cubs prospect Jorge Soler was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident Wednesday in which he approached the opposing team's dugout wielding a bat during a Single-A game in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"Soler was an instigator and charged with a bat," Florida State League president Chuck Murphy said Thursday. Murphy added that all the players who left their position would be fined as well.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, Soler -- the 21-year-old Cuban whom the Cubs signed to a nine-year, $30 million deal last year -- slid into second base during the seventh inning of the Florida State League game and had words with an opposing player for the Clearwater Threshers in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Players from both the Threshers and Soler's Daytona Cubs came out to separate the two, and the sides returned to their dugouts. But according to the News Journal, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Soler sprinted back out -- with bat in hand -- toward the Threshers' side.
Soler was caught by Cubs teammates before he made it to the opposing dugout and never swung the bat, according to the News Journal.
"Jorge is tremendously remorseful about what happened," Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters at Wrigley Field on Thursday. "He understands what he did was wrong. He didn't sleep last night, up all night thinking about it. Very apologetic. He understands this can't happen again, and understands the discipline associated with it.
"According to Jorge, there was some back and forth with a player on the other team during most of the game. Eventually something was said about Jorge's family, and that's when he lost his cool. But he understands and we agree that that's not an excuse for what happened. He has to find a way to better manage his emotions on the field."
Threshers manager Chris Truby, however, doesn't believe anything was said about Soler's family.
"I think it was just normal back and forth at second base," Truby said. "I don't think anything was said about his family. I don't think our guys did anything wrong."
Epstein said the Cubs support Soler and will work with him on finding ways to channel his emotions.
"We condemn the act of what took place, but we support the player," Epstein said. "We believe in Jorge as a person as well as a player. It's our responsibility to work with him to make sure he has a better way to channel his emotions on the field and to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. So that's our responsibility. It's his responsibility to fully embrace that.
"This is a great kid. Those of you who were around Jorge at spring training can vouch for this. He's very well-mannered, very respectful, very friendly, keeps to himself for the most part, but has a quick smile and good temperament, so this is just something that now that it's happened we need to get ahead of it with him and make sure we give him a framework to channel his emotions a little bit more appropriately on the field."
Epstein said he saw a video of the incident, and he was glad Soler's teammates and coaches stopped him before the incident escalated.
"There was no swinging of the bat whatsoever," Epstein said. "There was no physical contact. There was no violent act. This was merely a situation of grabbing a bat, which he shouldn't have done, and heading over toward the opposing dugout, which he shouldn't have done.
"His teammates did a great job, and the coaching staff did a great job, of getting to him and diffusing the situation. It was over very quickly before anything else happened."
The incident still gave a brief scare to the Threshers.
According to Jorge, there was some back and forth with a player on the other team during most of the game. Eventually something was said about Jorge's family, and that's when he lost his cool. But he understands and we agree that that's not an excuse for what happened. He has to find a way to better manage his emotions on the field.” -- Theo Epstein
Those few seconds were "kind of like a nightmare," Daytona manager Dave Keller told the newspaper.
Soler was ejected after the incident.
"I think that he was frustrated by some things and there was some emotional things he was fighting with," Keller told the News Journal after his team's 14-9 extra-inning win. "Why he did that, I don't know. I think he was frustrated by what happened. When he slid into second base, (Carlos Alonso) ended up laying on top of him. He was laying on him so (Soler) pushed with his arm to get him off him, and I think the second baseman interpreted that the wrong way like he wanted to fight or something."
Keller told the newspaper that the teams exchanged words and that Soler was upset about what was said to him.
"There were two separate incidents, and there was really no fight," the manager told the News Journal. "But because nobody was around him when he was running across the field with a bat ... that makes things a little bit crazy."
The predominant reaction in the Cubs clubhouse on Thursday was that of surprise because of the quiet, mild-mannered perception several of the major leaguers had of Soler from spring training.
"I'll try to call him today or tomorrow, one of those days, and see what's going on and try to give him motivation," Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. "(I'll tell him to) focus and play baseball and that's it. Not listen to anybody, and just play baseball.
"I got surprised. I talked to him a lot in spring training and he looked to me like a nice guy, a quiet guy, so it surprised me what he did."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn't have many details as his team prepared to face the San Francisco Giants. Sveum said he once saw a bat-wielding incident in rookie ball, and the lesson to be learned is the player has to control his emotions.
"Anything like that is surprising, but the circumstances you don't know, you weren't there so it's so hard to (know) what sets somebody off," Sveum said. "I really don't know all the details yet, except obviously it was an incident that you want back. ... You have to be able to handle your emotions."
Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija said it won't be the last time Soler faces adversity, so he'll need to manage his anger.
"If you're going to come here and plan on playing in Chicago, New York, L.A. or any big city, you have to understand it's not going to go your way all the time," Samardzija said. "You have to be able to handle that. If you can't handle that, then you're not going to be around for too long. You can't lose your emotions like that, you have to stay under control, and if you do you definitely can't use a bat.
"When you're playing here, obviously everyone is competing against each other for their livelihood, and competing for their families, and themselves also, your own personality. But you also respect the guys you play with. And there's a certain community we have. There's a union that we share, so you can't go at these guys in certain ways. And if you do, you have to handle it like a man, with your hands. And with your mouth and talk things out and do what you have to do. But there's definitely limits to certain things."
Soler, who defected from Cuba in 2011, was batting .435 with two home runs and a 1.258 OPS this season.
ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers and Bruce Levine contributed to this report.