CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzjia had some tough words of advice for a potential future teammate in Jorge Soler, who was suspended five games Thursday for approaching an opponent's dugout wielding a bat during a Single-A game in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"If you are going to come here to Chicago, New York, L.A., any big city, you have to know it is not going to go your way all of the time," Samardzija said Thursday. "You have to be able to handle that. If you can't you aren't going to be around for too long. You can't lose your emotions like that. You have to stay under control, and if you don't, you definitely can't use a bat."
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, Soler, one of the Cubs' top prospects, slid into second base during the Florida State League game and had words with an opposing player for the Clearwater Threshers. Players from both teams came out to separate the two and the teams soon returned to their dugouts. But Soler ran back out on the field toward the Clearwater dugout with bat in hand before teammates got in his way.
Samardzjia was shocked to hear that Soler took a bat with him toward the other dugout.
"You have to know to know everyone is competing against each other for themselves and their families," he said. "There is a certain community we have. We have a union that we share so you can't go at these guys in certain ways. If you do, you have to handle it like a man with your hands and your mouth by talking things out and do what you have to do. There is definitely limits to certain things."
The Cubs signed Soler, a 21-year-old Cuban defector, to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. Samardzija can relate to the pressure and attention that goes along with signing a lucrative deal before hitting the minor leagues. Samardzjia signed a five-year, $10.6 million deal with the Cubs in 2006, bypassing an NFL career as a wide receiver to play baseball.
Samardzjia believes Soler will be tested because of his multi-year deal.
"I know when I was down there playing, they knew who I was from playing football and they wanted to prove I shouldn't be on the baseball field," Samardzija said. "There is definitely a chip on the shoulder of other guys who are trying to prove themselves. You have to understand you are going to get everybody's best and everybody's worst. You have to learn how to deal with both."
Samardzija said Soler will have to be more conscious of the spotlight he is under.
"That pressure should already be there on yourself to succeed and live up to that contract and do well," Samardzija said. "It shouldn't be that much pressure. Just be more aware the spotlight is on you more so than the next guy."