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Cubs fall to Rangers as Jorge Soler struggles at plate, on basepaths

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs lost 5-0 to the Texas Rangers in a spring game on Wednesday. Here are a few takeaways:

Jorge Soler -- He continues to exhibit some highs and lows to his game as he was doubled off first base after singling in his first at-bat of the day. He jogged back to first on a lazy fly ball to center, unable to get back in time despite watching the play the whole way. He proceeded to strike out twice after that, as this all came a day after he made a bad error in left field. Not one play can define someone, but overall it’s an indication that Soler is still not a fully rounded player. Even if he was taking it easy on his legs there is no excuse to get doubled off first as he did. He needs to be sharp to get at-bats on this team, and he’ll have to prove he can hit in cold weather -- but that’s a whole other issue as April approaches.

Kyle Hendricks -- He gave up a few hits late in his outing, but he started the game by striking out four of the first five hitters, finishing with five over five innings.

“Changeup was working,” Hendricks said afterward. “When changeup is working, that follows.”

Hendricks has been about what you would expect this spring -- except he has struck out a few more batters than usual. He took Wednesday as a serious step toward the regular season.

“It’s about that time,” Hendricks said. “I’m trying to take these starts as if they are in-season because I’m somewhat of a slow starter, so I’m trying to get a couple of real starts under my belt, per se. Overall, I was happy.”

Hendricks is happy to fly under the radar on a star-studded team. He could sneak up on people.

“There’s a lot of headlines on our team,” he said. “I’m pretty far down there, which is fine with me.”

Adam Warren -- He gave up some hard-hit balls and three runs (one earned) in an inning of work, continuing a bit of a trend for the main bullpen guys. Cubs manager Joe Maddon has repeatedly indicated he isn’t worried about any pitcher coming off a good season. Warren qualifies despite a 6.00 ERA this spring in limited innings.

Up next -- An NLCS-type preview with Jake Arrieta facing Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants on Thursday evening at 6 pm CT. The game can be seen on ESPN. Expect both teams to play plenty of regulars to start the contest.