Almora, Bryant, Soler sent out; Baez stays

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs prospects Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler were among nine players sent to minor league camp on Wednesday, while top prospect Javier Baez survived the first round of cuts.

“They’ve shown their ability to be professionals here in terms of how they carried themselves and how they worked,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday afternoon. “Now it’s time for them to get down there and get some more at-bats and get ready for the regular season.”

Almora was 5-for-9 in spring games, Bryant hit two long home runs and Soler helped win a game with a ninth-inning triple last week.

“Like all players, they were a little disappointed. But they know there is a purpose and a reason for everything that we do,” Renteria said.

The Cubs indicated all winter that none of their top picks over the past few years were going to break camp with the team, no matter how well they played this spring. Each player will have to “dominate” at his level in the minors before moving up, according to team president Theo Epstein.

Baez will be sent to minor league camp soon, as well, but not before the Cubs see him play second and third base after being at shortstop all spring. That’s where he’ll likely play when he makes it to the majors, as Starlin Castro is the incumbent at shortstop. Baez should start to move around the infield next week.

Joining Almora, Bryant and Soler in going to minor league camp will be Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Matt Szczur, Eric Jokisch, Jeudy Valdez and Carlos Pimentel. Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was granted his release from the club.

Almora is likely to start the season at Class A Daytona, Bryant and Soler at Double-A Tennessee, and Baez and Alcantara at Triple-A Iowa.

Even though the players were sent out, they can still play in major league spring games. Bryant and Baez are scheduled to travel to Las Vegas this weekend for exhibitions against the New York Mets.