The Cubs' efforts to get their season on track took another hit Tuesday night when catcher Geovany Soto strained his groin blocking a pitch in the dirt in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Wait, it gets worse. Today Soto was placed on the Disabled List and catcher Welington Castillo was summoned from the Cubs' Iowa farm club.
To be sure, it's been a disappointing spring for Soto, who hit so brilliantly last season when he played (which wasn't all that often, due to knee and shoulder injuries). This season he's been healthy enough to play, but his numbers have been more reminiscent of 2009 than '10, as he's beginning to establish an odd-even pattern of performance.
Soto's backup is 32-year-old Koyie Hill, who's got a .213/.276/.302 career batting line in the majors. Welington Castillo's MLB career consists of seven games last September. At 24, he's still young enough to be considered a prospect, and does offer home-run power that Hill doesn't. Both should get some time in a mix-and-match situation, but neither will give the Cubs what even the 2009/2011 Soto would.