Cubs' Jorge Soler returns to lineup; reliever Joe Nathan DFA'd

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Saturday, August 6, 2016

OAKLAND -- The Chicago Cubs activated outfielder Jorge Soler from the disabled list and designated relief pitcher Joe Nathan for assignment, the team announced Friday.

Soler, 24, was in the lineup against the Oakland Athletics, batting sixth and playing designated hitter.

He injured his hamstring two months ago, continuing his yearly trend of spending time on the disabled list with leg problems. Soler split his rehab time between Double and Triple-A and hit .162, leading manager Joe Maddon to indicate Soler needed to work on his timing before being recalled.

The team changed course this weekend, knowing it could install Soler in the DH role and admitting an extended stay in the minors wasn't energizing Soler.

"I think you're going to see better," Maddon said Friday afternoon. "I've seen that with guys that have to go back to Triple-A for an extended period of time. ... I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it just happens."

Maddon says there are no "restrictions" on Soler, who will be watched carefully as he restarts his season. He has five home runs and a .223 batting average in 130 at-bats this season.

"I want to see how he responds to all this," Maddon said.

Nathan, 41, returned this season after having his second major elbow surgery and was signed by the Cubs in May, well before they added lefties Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman via trade. The Cubs didn't have time to bring Nathan along as they begin their pennant push.

"He needed more time," Maddon said. "We had so many other people to get involved. It just didn't work out immediately in a sense."

The Cubs also want to bring second baseman Tommy La Stella back from the minors, though he was given "personal time" after being optioned last weekend. It's the first time in a long time the Cubs have had a healthy roster.

"He's taking batting practice, staying active," Maddon said of La Stella. "We're trying to get him back up here. It's not clear-cut. "We have so many tough decisions to make..I'm not bemoaning anything."