Cubs' prospect Almora hits HR in first game

PITTSBURGH -- Talk about setting the bar high as Albert Almora hit a home run in his first pro game with the Cubs.

Making his debut in the Arizona Rookie League on Monday, the Cubs’ first-round selection in June’s draft hit a fifth-inning home run, ending his day 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Almora started the game in center field and was later replaced when Shawon Dunston moved from left to center and Trevor Gretzky took over in left field.

If anything, the debut home run showed that Almora can rise to the occasion. Part of his appeal to the Cubs as the draft’s sixth overall selection was his experience playing for USA Baseball.

Signed to a $3.9 million deal on July 9, Almora has been working out in Mesa, Ariz., ever since. By finally getting into game action, the Cubs now have two highly regarded outfield prospects playing at Mesa.

Jorge Soler, who officially signed with the Cubs at the end of June, made his pro debut in Arizona last week. Soler went 0-for-5 in Monday’s game, but did hit his first home run Sunday. Soler has 12 at-bats in three games played with just two hits.