MIAMI – As the Cubs awaited word late Tuesday about whether rookie outfielder Jorge Soler will land on the disabled list Wednesday, they may have already settled on his potential replacement in right field.
Second-year outfielder Junior Lake got the start in place of Soler, who had an MRI on his injured left ankle Tuesday, and was the most impressive hitter in the Cubs lineup during the 5-2 loss to the Marlins.
Lake doubled home a run with two outs in the third for an early 2-1 lead, and he doubled leading off the sixth but was eventually stranded at third.
“Watching him in spring training, I thought he had a great camp,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Now getting to watch him up here, he’s working good at-bats, he’s striking the ball hard, he’s playing good outfield, he’s running the bases well. He can bunt, he can bunt for a hit.
“He’s kind of a complete player. I think he’s under the radar a little bit right now. I like what he’s doing. I do.”
How long he likes it could be a big deal for a Cubs team that leaves Miami late Wednesday night for six road games against contenders Washington and Detroit.
Maddon said after Tuesday’s game that Soler was still being evaluated to determine whether he’ll be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The team expected to make a decision by early Wednesday.
Soler hurt the ankle hitting first base awkwardly running out a grounder in the fifth inning Monday night. He finished the game but the injury worsened overnight.