MIAMI -- When Jorge Soler extended his single-season franchise mark with his 41st homer on Saturday night, he received an impressive ovation from a section at Marlins Park.
Soler, who makes South Florida his offseason home, invited 15 cancer patients from Nicklaus Children's Hospital to the Royals' 7-2 victory over the Marlins.
"Three years ago, I told my wife just sitting around [the house] that I'd like to do some charity work down here, especially with kids with pediatric cancer," Soler said through an interpreter. "We picked a hospital, came in and talked to them in the hospital, and I went and told them I'd like to donate to pediatric cancer [awareness] and also to go see them once a year. This year, it just so happens that we're here, so I brought them over."
Saturday marked the fourth straight season that the Royals helped raise awareness for childhood cancer by wearing gold ribbon decals and wristbands during the game as part of an MLB initiative. "Childhood Cancer Awareness Day" is in recognition of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States and Canada.
"There's never enough help for this cause," Soler said. "Especially if it's a player and he can go visit me and [I can] bring some light and energy to him at least for a day, that means a lot."
Latest on Newberry
Reliever Jake Newberry, on the injured list since Aug. 22 with right shoulder inflammation, threw an up-down side session on Saturday and could return on Tuesday when the Royals open a three-game series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"We've looked at all of his numbers, and they're all right about where they were before he got injured," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were going to do a simulated game on Tuesday, but if he feels good today, we might just activate him Tuesday and put him on a progression like we're doing with [Jesse] Hahn. Guard it and cherrypick spots for him. He's making progress."
Newberry is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 24 games this season. He had pitched seven straight scoreless outings until giving up a homer, hitting a batter and issuing a walk in one-third of an inning in his last appearance on Aug. 19.
On to the championship
Left-hander Rito Lugo struck out 10 batters over six innings of one-run ball as Class A Advanced Wilmington beat Salem, 6-3, in Game 5 of the Carolina League semifinals to advance to the Mills Cup Championship Series, which begins Tuesday. Wilmington had staved off elimination with consecutive walk-off wins.