Soler sits; Cubs name Minors' best for April

Vogelbach, Null named Minor League player and pitcher of month

Soler sits; Cubs name Minors' best for April

ST. LOUIS -- Jorge Soler did not start Monday, to give the Cubs' rookie a chance to catch his breath, manager Joe Maddon said.

Soler went 7-for-23 on the Cubs' homestand with two doubles and three walks. Maddon had inserted Soler into the leadoff spot on Saturday to try to get the outfielder to have a different mental approach, and he went 1-for-3 with a walk.

The Cubs were careful in Spring Training with Soler to avoid any leg injuries, which have hindered him in the two previous seasons. Maddon assured Soler was healthy; Monday was more of a mental break.

Jason Hammel, who was bothered by a cracked nail on the middle finger of his right hand, is on schedule to make his next start Friday against the Brewers. Hammel said he had trouble getting a good feel of his pitches because of the nail, and was trying to avoid a blister.

• Reliever Pedro Strop talked to the Brewers' Jean Segura on Sunday night and was assured that the shortstop was OK. Strop hit Segura in the head with a pitch on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Segura hit in forehead by pitch

"I called him when he was just getting out of the hospital with a negative scan," Strop said. "I said, 'My bad,' and he said, 'It's OK, everyone knows it's not on purpose. The good part is I'm OK.'"

Strop and Segura are friends and played on the same team in the Dominican Winter League.

Justin Grimm, on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, was to start a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Iowa and throw one inning in relief. Reliever Neil Ramirez, also on the DL with a strained right shoulder, was still throwing off flat ground in Mesa, Ariz., and is close to a bullpen session.

• Double-A Tennessee infielder Dan Vogelbach and Class A South Bend right-handed pitcher Jeremy Null were named the Cubs' Minor League player and pitcher of the month for April, respectively.

Vogelbach, 22, batted .362 (25-for-69) with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 19 games. He drew 14 walks, struck out 10 times, and delivered a 1.064 OPS thanks to a .470 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging mark.

Null, 21, went 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA (2 ER in 22 2/3 IP) in four April starts for South Bend. He struck out 23 batters without issuing a walk to any of his 84 batters faced. He pitched into the sixth inning three times and held the opponent scoreless in three of his starts.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.