CHICAGO — Jorge Soler has expressed remorse and a senior Cubs official said the team will accept punishment from a Class A league after the Cubs prospect allegedly threatened opposing players with a bat on Wednesday.
During Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field, the team announced Soler was suspended for five games.
“Jorge’s tremendously remorseful about what happened and he understands what he did was wrong,” said Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. “He didn’t sleep last night, up all night thinking about it and very apologetic.”
Epstein spoke prior to Thursday’s game with the Giants.
Soler allegedly threatened opposing players with a bat following a brawl during a Class A Florida State League game on Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“We’re going to accept and Jorge’s going to accept whatever discipline (the league) deems appropriate,” Epstein said. “We condemn the act and what took place, but we support the player and we believe in Jorge.”
While not condoning Soler’s actions, several Cubs players also offered sympathy to the Cuban native.
“He’s not even here a year in the States,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said prior to Thursday’s scheduled game against the Giants at Wrigley Field. “He’s got to adjust and that’s why he’s not in the big leagues, Triple-A or Double-A. He’s got to learn the ropes. Everyone makes mistakes … it’s something you learn from.”
The 21-year-old outfielder reportedly tangled at second base with Clearwater infielder Carlos Alfonso, igniting a benches-clearing brawl in the seventh inning of the minor league game with the Cubs’ Daytona affiliate.
After the field cleared Soler reportedly grabbed a bat and approached the Clearwater dugout while yelling at opposing players. He was restrained by players and coaches and ejected from the game.
“He’s a young guy, first time in the United States and maybe he had a lot of pressure on himself,” Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. “It’s tough when you’re here by yourself here in the United States and you don’t have family or nobody. I feel sorry for him.”
Soriano said he’ll try to contact Soler in the next few days to offer support and motivation.
A former member of Cuba’s national team and a top Cubs prospect, Soler was signed last summer to a nine-year contract reportedly worth $30 million.
He was with the Cubs in spring training before assignment to the team’s Class A affiliate in Florida.