The Rundown: Lester Struggles Again, Cubs Sign RHP Rafael Soriano, Jacob Turner Begins Minor-League Rehab

If last night’s 6-0 loss to the Tigers wasn’t the worst game of the season so far, it’s definitely in the team photo.

Nothing was going well, as Jon Lester had his second bad outing in a row. He lasted only 4.2 innings, giving up five runs and nine hits.

But probably more disappointing was the offense. Cubs hitters didn’t do much of anything against a guy in Anibal Sanchez who has been giving up home runs this season at an alarming rate.

It’s too bad that after such a nice result in the series against the Nationals, the Cubs would come out and play like this. But one of the best things about baseball is you can always turn things around the next day. The Cubs will try and do just that tonight.

Soriano signs minor-league deal

To help bolster a bullpen that has struggled at times, the Cubs signed free-agent pitcher Rafael Soriano to a minor-league deal.

The veteran right-hander had 32 saves with the Nationals last year, although struggled mightily in the second half of the season.

He is being reunited with Joe Maddon, whom he pitched for in Tampa in 2010, recording 45 saves.

“So beyond his ability to help us pitch and win games, he’s really good at observing and knowing what to do versus hitters,” Maddon told Patrick Mooney. “And I’d like to believe that’s going to be part of his value.”

I like the move. It’s a low-risk/high-reward situation that may ultimately provide a closer for a shaky Cubs bullpen. At the very least, he will add depth and contribute to a bullpen that could have a lot of options.

If Neil Ramirez can work his way back, and Soriano is serviceable, the Cubs bullpen should become dangerous again pretty quickly.

Turner progressing

Some good news, as Jacob Turner has begun his minor-league rehab assignment. He got the start for Double-A Tennesee last night, giving up two runs on three hits in four innings. Turner struck out four, while reportedly hitting the mid-90s with his fastball.

The Cubs claimed Turner off waivers from the Marlins last year, but didn’t have great results after coming over. However, he’s a former top prospect and is still only 24.

Before suffering an elbow injury this spring, I had high hopes for Turner to make a run at the fifth spot in the Cubs rotation. If he can put together some solid outings during his rehab, maybe he’ll get that chance as a back-end guy. He probably has more upside than Tsuyoshi Wada or Travis Wood.

Other notes

* One “positive” out of last night’s loss to the Tigers was Edwin Jackson’s performance out of the bullpen. He helped save the rest of the ‘pen by tossing 3.2 innings, giving up only one run and striking out five.

* The Tennessee Smokies were actually no-hit in game 1 of a double-header, but in game 2, Kyle Schwarber did his thing. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and two runs scored.

* The Cubs drafted a bunch of pitchers yesterday in round 2 of the draft. Get the lowdown on all the picks here.


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