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Smokies' Soler homers in first game back07/06/2014 10:54 PM ET
By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com
Jorge Soler is back and he let the Southern League know it Sunday.
In his first game since injuring his hamstring in May, the Cubs' sixth-ranked prospect homered and drove in two runs as Double-A Tennessee topped Birmingham, 9-1, at Regions Field.
After grounding out in his first at-bat and lining to third base in his second, the 22-year-old outfielder ripped an RBI single to cap the Smokies' five-run fourth. It was the first time Soler was on base in a Tennessee uniform since May 13.
After missing time during Spring Training with a strained left hamstring, he went 1-for-1 on Opening Day before straining his right hamstring. Soler was back five weeks later and went 7-for-23 with seven RBIs in six games before re-injuring his right hamstring on May 15.
MLB.com's No. 41 overall prospect rehabbed in the Rookie-level Arizona League, batting .391 with a homer and six RBIs in seven games before rejoining the Smokies.
In the sixth inning, Tennessee's cleanup hitter belted his first Southern League homer, a two-out solo shot off Barons reliever Bryan Blough.
Soler signed a nine-year contract with the Cubs in 2012, but Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey estimated that he's missed between 300-400 at-bats due to injury. Soler's 2013 season was limited to 55 games with Class A Advanced Daytona due to a stress fracture in his left leg.
Addison Russell went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his debut in the Cubs organization. Now the system's No. 3 prospect, the 20-year-old shortstop was acquired from the A's on Friday with infielder Billy McKinney (Chicago's new No. 9 prospect) and right-hander Dan Straily for veteran right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Russell hit .333 with eight RBIs in 15 games across two stints with Double-A Midland this season, missing time with a hamstring injury.
First baseman Dustin Geiger was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for Tennessee, while leadoff hitter Pin-Chieh Chen chipped in two RBIs.
Smokies starter Corey Black (4-5) yielded on a run on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts over six innings. The Cubs' 17th-ranked prospect is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in his last three starts.