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Soto pulled early, should play in NLDS

Soto pulled early vs. Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Cubs catcher Geovany Soto was pulled from Friday's game after he took an awkward swing and re-aggravated a sore left hand injured one week ago. However, the rookie expected to be ready for the National League Division Series, which opens Wednesday.

X-rays taken on Sept. 19 revealed joint irritation in Soto's hand, and he has called the injury a "minor thing." Soto originally felt some soreness on Sept. 18 in an at-bat before he hit a game-tying three-run homer, and he has started in two games since then.

On Friday against Milwaukee, Soto swung at a 1-0 pitch from Brewers reliever Seth McClung leading off the sixth, and winced. Cubs manager Lou Piniella and assistant trainer Ed Halbur went to the batter's box to check out Soto and he was pulled.

"It was precautionary," Piniella said. "There's no sense in taking any chances."

"It was a hard fastball," Soto said of the pitch. "I did feel it but there's nothing to worry about, nothing near the first time. It was the same thing. I felt I could play. I was in there and they called time. Lou didn't want to take a chance. I felt good."

He could take Saturday off but wanted to play Sunday.

"I'm good," Soto said.

Soto has 23 homers and 86 RBIs, and is two home runs shy of tying the franchise rookie record for most home runs, set by Billy Williams in 1961.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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