Cubs prospect charges rival dugout, bat in hand

Jay Busbee
April 11, 2013

There are ways to resolve your differences with an opposing team on a baseball field. Last among them: picking up a bat to make your point.

Our scene: Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Fla., home of the Class-A (Advanced) Daytona Cubs. The Cubs, affiliate of the Chicago club of the same name, were in the seventh inning of a game against the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies' affiliate.

Bleed Cubbie Blue reported that Daytona was leading 9-7, and top prospect Jorge Soler was on first base. On a ground ball, Soler and Clearwater second baseman Carlos Alonso made contact as Alonso wheeled on a double play. Soler and Alonso jawed at each other while both benches cleared. The fight didn't turn physical at that point, but it did momentarily thereafter.

Soler grabbed a bat from his dugout and raced toward the Clearwater bench. Cubs player Javier Baez and hitting coach Mariano Duncan hauled Soler back into his own dugout. Initial reports indicated that Soler hit the walls of the dugout with the bat, but more recent reports have removed that aspect of the story. No video has yet surfaced of the fight; contact us if you have it.

Daytona would go on to lose the game 14-9 in extra innings, but that's not the story. Soler was ejected and will likely face a lengthy suspension. In 2006, Delmon Young, then a Tampa Bay prospect, was suspended 50 games for throwing a bat that hit an umpire in the arm.

Soler, an outfielder, already had a fascinating story before this incident. He defected from Cuba in 2011 and established residence in Haiti. Once he became eligible for free agency, he navigated a bidding war to sign a nine-year, $30 million deal last June with the Cubs. Draft analysts indicated they would have placed him at the top of the 2012 class had he been eligible.