SF@CHC: Epstein discusses Soler's suspension

CHICAGO -- Cubs prospect Jorge Soler will be back in the starting lineup Thursday for Class A Daytona, Cubs farm director Brandon Hyde told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

"It's time for him to get back to playing," Hyde said.

Soler has been at the Cubs' extended spring camp in Mesa, Ariz., in recent days following last week's suspension by the Florida State League for "charging" the Clearwater Threshers' dugout -- with bat in hand -- last Wednesday night during a game in Daytona.

Soler, 21, signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs last June, and was batting .435 with two home runs and four RBIs with Daytona. He is the No. 3 prospect in the system, according to MLB.com's 2013 Prospect Watch. Daytona manager Dave Keller told the News-Journal he spoke to Soler on Sunday night.

"I called him to say 'Hi' and let him know that I was thinking of him," Keller said. "He told me he was doing good, and he must have thanked me four or five times for calling him. Other guys on the team have called him to let him know they were thinking of him, too."

Keller said he looked forward to Soler returning.

"I like Jorge, and from a baseball standpoint and a development standpoint, I'd love to have him back, because he was doing some really good things on the field," Keller said. "There's a lot of good things that are potentially going to happen with this guy."

Worth noting

• Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was in town Wednesday and stopped by Wrigley Field, but there was no indication it was with plans to pitch for the Cubs. But it did quickly spark a conversation on social media.

"Rumors are rumors," manager Dale Sveum said.

Zambrano is a free agent after his contract with the Marlins expired.

• The Cubs have had two games rained out this year and, when they do play, their pregame workouts have been limited by chilly and sometimes wet conditions.

"This has probably been a little exceptional as far as not being able to get on the field, and when we get on the field, it's been pretty miserable work conditions, too," Sveum said. "But that's what it is. Guys get plenty of swings in, but the concerning part is the work on the defense and those kind of things. But that's part of the game. It's a long season, we've just come out of spring. But the bottom line is we're just not getting on the field and getting any kind of quality work."

• Matt Garza is on track to make his first rehab start on Friday with Class A Kane County, pending the weather.

Garza, coming back from a strained left lat suffered during a live batting practice session Feb. 17 in Spring Training, is expected to throw just two innings. He has four starts scheduled, but Sveum said the final number will come down to how many innings and pitches he throws and how Garza feels.

• Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo stopped by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Tuesday to visit with patients and their families. He presented Cubs hats and notebooks to the kids. Rizzo is a cancer survivor himself.