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Soler returns to Cuba for 1st time in 8 years

Outfielder reports to camp ‘100 percent’ recovered from last season’s left foot fracture
@FlannyMLB
February 21, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- By all appearances it looked like Royals outfielder Jorge Soler, acquired in the Wade Davis trade in 2016, was headed for a breakout season in 2018. Soler was hitting .265 with 18 doubles and nine home runs and 28 RBIs in mid-June when he suffered a fractured

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- By all appearances it looked like Royals outfielder Jorge Soler, acquired in the Wade Davis trade in 2016, was headed for a breakout season in 2018.

Soler was hitting .265 with 18 doubles and nine home runs and 28 RBIs in mid-June when he suffered a fractured first metatarsal bone in his left foot. Soler wanted to come back later in the season but never was quite healthy enough to do so.

Soler showed up healthy and ready to go in Royals camp this week. He did a brief session with reporters in front of his locker on a rainy Thursday, speaking through interpreter Luis Perez.

When did your fractured toe finally begin to feel better last year?

Soler: “So after last year, I tried to come back but it didn’t turn out so good. So then I just kept trying to rehab it. It’s 100 percent now.”

What did you do in the offseason?

Soler: “I was at home just trying to get ready and play some ball.”

How frustrating was the injury considering how good of a season you were having?

Soler: “To be honest, it was very hard. It was a good start and then out of the blue, I got the injury. It was tough on me and my family.”

You obviously can’t control injuries but how eager are you to get back this year and play a full season?

Soler: “I’m crazy to get back and play a full season because I’ve never had a chance to. I’m very excited.”

You had a chance to go home to Cuba for the first time in eight years. What was that experience like?

Soler: “It was an amazing time. It was beautiful. I got to spend time with my family that I haven’t seen in eight years.”

Was it your mom and dad whom you saw?

Soler: “My mother and father are here. But it was my extended family I got to see – uncles and cousins.”

How happy were they to see you?

Soler: “(Smiling) I think I was happier to see them than they were to see me.”

What did you do with them when you were there?

Soler: “I was there 12 days. There was a lot to do, but I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. I spent a lot of time at the beach, which is close to home.”

Do you feel more inspired coming into this season?

Soler: “I’m feeling very positive about it all. It’s going to be a great year.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.