Chicago Cubs prospect Jorge Soler finally made his home debut for the Peoria Chiefs last night, and I was on hand for it. Unfortunately for him, he went 0-for-4 with three swinging strikeouts and a broken-bat flyout.
But fortunately for me, I arrived in Peoria in time to watch (from outside the ballpark) some of Chiefs batting practice. Soler hit a few home runs, including one out onto the street behind me. I retrieved the ball, which I brought into the stadium with me just in case I got the opportunity to get it signed by Soler. I really didn’t expect to get that chance, but during pregame stretches, he walked over to the section where I was sitting, so I went down to the wall and got his autograph.
As you can tell in the photo, the baseball is a little beat-up, but that doesn’t bother me because when I get an autograph, it’s because I want to keep it, not because I want to sell it. I think it’s just cool to have a potential star player’s signature on a ball I know he hit out of the park, even if it was during batting practice.
Anyway, the game was a back-and-forth affair that the Burlington Bees won 5-4. It featured four solo home runs, by Burlington’s Sean Jamieson (10) and Peoria’s Dustin Geiger (15), Wes Darvill (3) and Chadd Krist (3). Geiger’s home run came off Bees SP Drew Granier right after the Bees trainer popped Granier’s shoulder back in.
Yes, you read that right. Granier dislocated his non-throwing shoulder after receiving a throw from catcher John Nester. Burlington’s athletic trainer brought Granier into the dugout, popped his shoulder back in, and then Granier came back out to continue his outing.
That happened with no outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Granier went five innings, giving up two runs (both on solo homers), three hits and five walks. He struck out six batters.
Chiefs SP Starling Peralta struck out 8 batters in 6 innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks, a wild pitch and Darvill’s 33rd error of the season (a missed catch).
Bees RP Chas Mye got the win despite giving up a run in the two-thirds of an inning he pitched. Chiefs RP Austin Reed, brother of Chicago White Sox closer Addison Reed, took the loss. Jose Macias earned his fifth save of the season for Burlington.
Awesome! I love the ball story. It’s one thing to get the autograph, but another entirely to get it on the ball he hit during BP. Really cool. And I’m with you — I don’t care if the ball is scuffed, dirty, etc. It’s part of what makes the story extra special.