The Cubs announced today that they will be placing catcher Geovany Soto on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain. Soto suffered the injury taking batting practice before Wednesday's game at Wrigley Field.
It appears that Soto's injury is worse than orginally thought, and he could be out until some time in August. And with the way oblique strains can affect a hitter, he might not be back even then.
I can't say this for sure, but I think it's fairly likely that the Cubs put in a waiver claim on C-1B-3B Chris Coste, who was placed on waivers by the Phillies on Wednesday. Jim Hendry must have been almost downright giddy when he saw Coste's name come through eBIS (MLB's in-house computer system) on the daily waiver list the very same day Soto went down with an injury, not because he was happy to lose Soto, but because he could have done a lot worse than acquire a Chris Coste for $20,000 (and no players!). That must be why the Cubs were waiting to place Soto on the DL. They expected (hoped) to acquire Coste Friday afternoon when the 47-hour waiver period expired, and they were just waiting for the announcement from the MLB office. Then they could add Coste to the roster tomorrow, and DL Soto retro to Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Coste was also claimed by the Houston Astros, and because the Astros had a worse record (by 1/2 game) than the Cubs going into today's action, they win the waiver claim.
Coste would have probably fit the bill perfectly for the Cubs. A short-term solution, true, but also a veteran right-handed hitting National League catcher with a decent bat and the versatility to play 1B and 3B who could share the load with Koyie Hill until Soto was ready to return to action. But perhaps the Astros knew that, too, and put in a claim just so the Cubs couldn't get him? Did the Astros really need a third catcher, or were they merely trying to weaken a division rival by keeping the rival from acquiring a player they really needed? If so, maybe the Cubs shouldn't have said anything about Soto's injury until Coste's waiver ride was over. I mean, this isn't the NFL. MLB clubs do not have to report injuries to the media. And there actually was a good reason not to do so this time. .
All of which puts the Cubs back to Square One...
They can either bring up a catcher from Iowa (probably Chris Robinson), or try and make a trade for a veteran catcher, which might take a while to execute.
There were two positions on the 2009 Cubs that quite obviously lacked depth coming out of Spring Training (third-base and catcher), and both have been exposed.