Cubs prospect Jorge Soler received a five-game suspension and was fined an undisclosed amount by the Florida State League one day after he charged an opponent's dugout with a bat during a Minor League game.
Soler, the Chicago Cubs' No. 3 prospect, had words with Clearwater Threshers second baseman Carlos Alonso during a double-play in the seventh inning of their game on April 10. According to a statement by the league, Soler grabbed a bat upon returning to the Daytona dugout and started towards the Clearwater dugout before being restrained.
"Jorge is tremendously remorseful about what happened and understands what he did was wrong," said Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, according to MLB.com. "He didn't sleep last night -- was up all night thinking about it. He was very apologetic. He understands this can't happen again and understands there will be discipline associated with it."
Several early reports on Wednesday incorrectly indicated Soler had swung the bat at players or toward the dugout, although the league said Soler simply "grabbed a bat" following the inning-ending double play. He was ejected following the seventh-inning incident.
Epstein confirmed those reports were false.
"There was no swinging of the bat, whatsoever. There was no physical contact. There was no violent act," Epstein said. "This was merely a situation of grabbing a bat, which he shouldn't have done, and heading toward the opposing dugout, which he shouldn't have done."
Daytona manager Dave Keller said Soler may have misinterpreted Alonso's words.
"I think he was frustrated by some things, and there was some emotional things he was fighting with," Keller told The Daytona Beach News-Journal after the game. "When he slid into second base, [Alonso] ended up laying on top of him. He was laying on him, so [Soler] pushed with his arm to get him off him, and I think the second baseman interpreted that the wrong way, like he wanted to fight or something."
The league indicated that several other players also received undisclosed fines after they violated the on-field behavior policy by leaving their dugout during the altercation.
According to MLB.com, Epstein watched video of the incident and spoke to Soler on Thursday morning. Epstein said Soler and Alonso had previously exchanged words during the game, but something was said about Soler's family, and Epstein said, "that's when he lost his cool."
"He understands and we agree that's not an excuse for what happened," Epstein told MLB.com. "He has to find a way to better manage his emotions on the field. We condemn the act and what took place, but we support the player.
"We believe in Jorge as a person as well as a player. It's our responsibility to work with him and make sure he has a better way to channel his emotions on the field and make sure something like this doesn't happen again."
Soler left Cuba and signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs last June. The 21-year-old ranks as the Cubs' No. 2 outfield prospect and MLB.com's No. 42 overall prospect.
The right-hander is batting .435 with two homers and four RBIs in six games for Class A Advanced Daytona this season. He finished his first season last year hitting .299 with five homers, 25 RBIs and a .369 OBP at two levels in the Cubs' system.
"He came here to work hard, to be in the big leagues, and [I told him to] not pay attention to the negative in the Minor Leagues, because sometimes there are some people who are negative," Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano told MLB.com. "I said, 'Don't think about that, just think about how you came here to play hard, and sooner or later, you'll be in the big leagues if you do the right thing.'"