SAN DIEGO – The Cubs love showing off their new complex in Arizona, but ideally they wouldn’t be hosting C.J. Edwards and Jorge Soler now.
Health is one of many variables in this long-term rebuild. Edwards (No. 28) and Soler (No. 41) are two of the seven prospects the Cubs placed in Baseball America’s Top 100 rankings.
Edwards is on a throwing program in Mesa after last month’s MRI on his right shoulder revealed fatigue/inflammation and no structural damage. The Cubs won’t rush the organization’s top pitching prospect back to Double-A Tennessee.
“We’re probably shooting for around the All-Star break,” farm director Jaron Madison said Thursday at Petco Park. “It was something that he probably could have fought through and continued to go – and he wanted to – but we just said: Let’s take it slow, shut it down, build him up slowly, get him ready for the second half.”
Edwards became the centerpiece to last summer’s Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers. He put up a 2.61 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20-plus innings through his four starts with Tennessee last month.
The Cubs haven’t decided if Edwards – who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs around 165 pounds – should be eased back in a bullpen role.
“We’re still kind of going back and forth on that,” Madison said. “Right now, the plan is to go back as a starter, but we’ll see. Because he missed so many innings, it might be better to keep him regimented on that starting rotation. That way, you can control his innings a little bit more. But we’re still talking through that and we’ll figure that out as he gets closer.”
Soler returns to Mesa to rehab his right hamstring. The $30 million Cuban outfielder had been sidelined with a left hamstring strain earlier this year, and missed most of last season with a stress fracture in his left leg.
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Soler generated seven doubles and seven RBI in seven games with Tennessee. He’s hit .291 with an .832 OPS in 96 career games in the minors.
“When he’s on the field, he’s been really good,” Madison said. “We just have to find a way to keep him on the field. He’s working his butt off to stay healthy. So now it’s just a matter of everything lining up and him getting healthy and staying healthy for the rest of the year.”