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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Jorge Soler suffers stress fracture

By Sahadev Sharma
Special to ESPNChicago.com

MILWAUKEE -- Chicago Cubs top prospect Jorge Soler has a stress fracture in his left tibia and will be in a walking boot for four to six weeks, the team announced Thursday.

The timing of his recovery means Soler won't play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 14 at Citi Field.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Soler fouled a ball off his shin at the end of spring training.

"It was fine, then it returned a couple months later," Epstein said. "Those stress fractures can be hard to diagnose because they don't show up right away on an MRI and some symptoms return months down the line sometimes."

Soler hasn't played for high-Class A Daytona since June 13. The injury at first was thought to be minor, but it still hadn't healed enough for Soler to play when he was eligible to come off the disabled list. He was examined in Chicago by team doctors Wednesday, which led to the discovery of the stress fracture.

While manager Dale Sveum was worried there may be a chance Soler would miss the rest of the season, Epstein struck a more positive tone.

"Some of the docs are fairly optimistic he can have almost a full month at the end of the season," Epstein said. "I think that's a little aggressive, but I think he'll probably play again this season. And we're gonna strongly consider getting him into the Arizona Fall League so he can make up those at-bats, something I think he's ready for."

Epstein said that while the injury obviously will affect Soler's short-term progression, the team is confident he can catch up.

It's been a rough season for Soler, who was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident in April in which he approached the opposing team's dugout wielding a bat. Soler also was benched for a game by Daytona manager Dave Keller for failing to run hard.

"[He] really bounced back from that incident he had," Epstein said. "[He's] been a good teammate and a good citizen. We feel great about his future prospects."

Epstein said he was impressed with Soler's advanced feel at the plate and his ability to fit right in, despite playing a minimal amount of organized baseball in the past couple of years. He added that the Cubs made some adjustments to Soler's swing mechanics, particularly his load and swing path, and the Cuban slugger took to them right away.

The adjustments have helped Soler, who has always hit the ball hard, elevate the ball with more consistency. Soler is hitting .281 with eight home runs for Daytona.