Coghlan says ankle is fine, eyes playoff roster

Soler rejoins team to be evaluated by trainers; postseason availability uncertain

Coghlan says ankle is fine, eyes playoff roster

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' Chris Coghlan said his left ankle felt good on Thursday, one day after coming out of a game with a mild sprain after crashing into the outfield wall.

"It got stuck in the wall," Coghlan said.

He wanted to stay in the game, but manager Joe Maddon convinced him to get treatment.

"Joe said, 'It's not worth it right now,'" Coghlan said. "I told him afterward I was glad he said that. As a competitor, you want to stay in there."

Coghlan was hoping he could play this weekend in Cincinnati. He's hitting .326 (14-for-43) in 18 games this month and is hoping that's enough to secure a spot on the Cubs' postseason roster.

"At the end of the day, I think they know what type of player I am," Coghlan said. "It feels good for me to contribute to the team to win, and it's fun to be out there playing more often and producing at the level I know I can."

Worth noting
• Outfielder Jorge Soler, who has been bothered by some discomfort on his right side, rejoined the Cubs on Thursday so the athletic trainers could evaluate him. Soler underwent an MRI on Monday, and Maddon was hoping he could at least take batting practice this weekend in Cincinnati. Is there enough time to get him ready for the postseason?

"He needs to get going and we want to find out," Maddon said. "You want to test, but you don't want to test too soon to totally take him out of the entire postseason, so you have to be careful in a sense. He felt pretty good today, from what I was told. Once in a while, he feels it in a very, very, very minor way. We just have to wait for him to say he's up to par, so that's why we're being very careful."

Soler has had four at-bats over two games since Sept. 16, and made one start.

Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero said they weren't comfortable with what they called a "Spring Training feel" to Wednesday's game. Maddon's response?

"My answer to that is we're 7-2 in our last nine games," Maddon said. "I don't see any kind of negative pattern there. They all knew what was going to happen before that game and there's been no surprises. I think it was a moment where it didn't work out the way we wanted it to work out, so you probably heard some things, and I think if they had more time to think about it, they probably wouldn't say the same things."

The Cubs have three games remaining in Cincinnati before waiting for the start of the National League Division Series on Oct. 7 at Wrigley Field. Maddon doesn't plan on changing the approach.

"If a guy has three, four at-bats in the sixth inning, there's no reason to have him out there any longer than that," Maddon said. "I've utilized the words 'Spring Training' in the regard of getting guys in and out of the game, not from the perspective of not trying to win.

"Everything we've done over the last two weeks has been scripted, and I think we've done pretty well."

To have this much time to prepare is unusual. The Cubs clinched the NL Central on Sept. 15.

"There's been a number of teams that have done it in the past 20 years," Ben Zobrist said. "For those of us in here, it's rare for all of us, it's new for all of us, including Joe, including all the staff. They have to do the best job they can to keep everyone healthy and not allow anything bad to happen, but at the same time, try to keep people sharp. It's a difficult task the last week of the season when neither team is playing for anything. It does feel a little more like Spring Training. We want to get away from that as quick as we can and get back to playing real competitive baseball."

• Thursday was the Cubs' rookie dress-up day, and the veterans were wearing football jerseys while the rookies were in cheerleader outfits. Kris Bryant picked former Bears coach Mike Ditka's jersey and Javier Baez was wearing Walter Payton's. Maddon went old school, and contacted Lafayette College coach Frank Tavani, who sent a No. 12 football jersey. Maddon, who played baseball and football at Lafayette, posted a photo on Twitter, and said it's the first time he's worn the jersey since freshman year.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.