Maddon, Epstein stressing patience with Soler

May 13th, 2016

CHICAGO -- In the National League Division Series last year, Jorge Soler batted .571 in four games against the Cardinals. Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees the potential in Soler and is quick to remind critics of what the young outfielder did last October when they questioned his talent.

On Wednesday, Soler struck out four times in the second game of a doubleheader against the Padres, including once to end the eighth inning and leave the bases loaded. He entered Friday 3-for-24 with runners in scoring position.

"He just has to go out there and play," Maddon said Friday about Soler, who went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run in the Cubs' 9-4 win over the Pirates. "He needs opportunity. When a guy has a tough day, I don't get carried away in a negative way. It's part of development, it's part of making a player a good Major League player. There's a lot of patience involved.

"You saw what he did at the end of last season, and nobody's complaining about that," Maddon said. "He had a tough day the other day. He hit a ball not so long ago, crushed it to center field at 100-some-miles-an-hour and the wind kept it in the ballpark."

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein heard the questions regarding Soler.

"Guys are asking Joe, 'What do you need to see so you don't give up on him?' That's absurd," Epstein said. "The talent is there. It's undeniable."

There has been no talk about sending Soler to the Minor Leagues for more development, Epstein said. The outfielder's career has been interrupted by injuries, but he's been healthy this season. Maddon said he learned from Preston Gomez the need to be patient with young Latin players, and he has tried to find the best matchups for Soler.

"If you put your scout's hat on, you can see what the eventual reward is going to look like," Maddon said. "With a guy like 'Georgie,' you have to be patient. I have a lot of faith in this kid."