Cubs notes: Jorge Soler ready for rehab stint, Bob Costas apologizes

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs should get a big bat back in their lineup within a week's time as right fielder Jorge Soler is scheduled to start a rehab stint in the minors soon.

"He should be rehabbing somewhere at the beginning of next week," manager Joe Maddon said Saturday afternoon. "Once we leave St. Louis he probably won't be with us."

Soler has missed every game this month save one as he injured his left ankle running to first base against the Miami Marlins on June 1. General manager Jed Hoyer called Saturday a "big day" considering Soler ran the bases, testing his ankle, just as he did on Friday. Trying to find the positives in missing him all month, Maddon believes there could be a reset for Soler.

"This little bit of a break might get him back to where he had been," Maddon said. "Get his strike zone more under control and see what happens."

Before the injury Soler had led the majors in strikeouts while chasing more pitches than he ever did in the minors. He was hitting .265 with four home runs and 19 RBIs when he went down. Now he'll restart his season after the Cubs decide where he'll get a few rehab starts.

"This might work to everyone's benefit," Maddon said. "It lengthens out your lineup. We're eager to get him back."

Pedro Strop: The Cubs reliever had an awful night on Friday giving up a game-tying home run and walking two batters before being pulled. Strop said he didn't have any feel for his pitches starting with his warm-ups in the bullpen.

"I didn't have my stuff," he stated. "My velocity wasn't there and I didn't have my command. Especially my command. If I don't have my velocity, if I can command my sinker or slider, then I can be OK."

Maddon was asked what a pitcher can do in Strop's situation -- when he thinks he doesn't have it as he enters the game.

"Try not to manufacture it," Maddon said. "Just go pitch. Play that elevated game of catch."

Costas apologizes: As Strop walked off the mound and pointed to the sky, MLB Network announcer Bob Costas made some strange comments -- presumably in jest -- about Strop asking a "departed relative for forgiveness after such an atrocious performance." The Cubs say Costas apologized to Strop on Saturday.

All-Star voting: In the locker room on Saturday many players could be seen filling out All-Star ballots. After the fans elect the starters players are given a chance to send their peers to the mid-summer classic. They take that task seriously.

"It is an honor to go and represent a league that already is the best of the best," pitcher Jason Hammel said. "It's tough on these ballots. There are a lot of people that are deserving to go."

Yes, players can, and do, vote for themselves and their teammates but only if they're deserving, according to Hammel.

"The thing I go off of is the body of work," he said. "If guys have been on the disabled list that's a problem. If they've been grinding it out all season and putting up good numbers than they're deserving."