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Blog Entry

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:06 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 11:00 am
 
MESA, Ariz. -- Ears perked up, perhaps, by new manager Dale Sveum discussing him as a potential cleanup man the other day, beleaguered Cubs veteran Alfonso Soriano sure looked the part Tuesday.

Granted, it was March 6. Yes, the Colorado Rockies essentially are holding tryouts for their rotation and Guillermo Moscoso and Zach Putnam won't remind anyone of Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson anytime soon. And true, making hasty spring training judgments is more dangerous than crossing the desert with no water.

On the flip side, when you've had your ears pinned back with boos while disappointing as much as Soriano has over the past couple of seasons ... maybe a little confidence boost can go a long way.

Batting fourth against the Rockies on Tuesday, Soriano absolutely crushed a Moscoso pitch in the second inning, drilling it off of the scoreboard behind the left-field seats. Then, after doubling against Alex White -- another Rockies' starting pitcher wannabe -- he ripped another homer, this one in the fifth against Putnam. He finished with three RBIs.

"Second game, and I'm starting to feel good with my swing and with my timing," Soriano said. "That made me feel good."

Normally, Soriano said, it takes him somewhere between 20 and 25 at-bats before he begins feeling good in the spring. So you might say he's already in mid-spring form.

"My goal is to have a lot of at-bats and feel comfortable at the plate," Soriano, who batted .244 with 26 homers and 88 RBI last season, said of the spring. "I want to show my teammates and show the Cubs that I'm here to play the game. It doesn't matter if I lead off, I'm here to do my job."

Soriano, a leadoff man in the past, lost that gig in 2009 under Lou Piniella. Slogging along at the plate for too long, Soriano mostly hit seventh (221 plate appearances) last year, with some sixth (186) and fifth (94) mixed in.

Aggressively shopped over the winter by new president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and booed at the Cubs Convention over the winter, Soriano said he doesn't care where he hits in the lineup.

"Not really," he said. "I'm just preparing my mind. It doesn't matter to me if I lead off or hit fourth or fifth."

Wherever Sveum thinks he can best help the club, the affable Soriano said, he's happy to hit there.

Sveum has said he'd like to give rookie first baseman Bryan LaHair the opportunity to hit in the cleanup spot in the order. But right out of the gate, that would appear to be pushing it for a rookie. If Soriano can have a good spring and own the cleanup spot, that will take some of the heat off of LaHair as well as give the Cubs a boost.

Plus, the only way the Cubs likely will be able to trade him is if he gets off to a hot start, and a contender impressed with his April, May and June comes calling. Soriano has three years and $54 million remaining on his contract. The under-new-management Cubs have been so desperate to move him that sources say they will eat a significant portion of the contract if they can deal him.

This spring, though, Soriano, 36, will keep his blinders on and prepare for 2012.

He wants to get as many spring at-bats as he can.

"The more I take, the more I feel comfortable at home plate," he said. "If I can get 50, 60, 100 ... my goal is to be ready for opening day."

Last spring, he checked in with 64 at-bats.

This spring, if many more of them go as they did Tuesday, maybe Soriano can write a happy ending yet.

Sunblock day? Nice and hot, in the 80s, with a bright, warm sun and a cloudless, blue sky. Perfect spring training weather. And great convertible day.

Likes: Cool old huge photo of Ron Santo on the door greeting those entering the press box at the Cubs' HoHoKam Park. Very striking, and a great tribute. ... Looking forward to watching Yu Darvish's Cactus League debut Wednesday. ... Every time I visit Scottsdale Stadium, it's reinforced that it's the best thing going. ... Reminiscing about former major leaguers and legendary scouts Pat Dobson and Ted Uehlander with Giants general manager Brian Sabean. Each of those men, special assistants to Sabean before passing away, was a terrific baseball character, and it brightened your day to run into them. I miss seeing Dobber and Ted around the spring training trails. ... The fried calamari at the Italian Grotto in Scottsdale.

Dislikes: Freddy Sanchez, Giants' second baseman -- will he ever again be healthy enough to be the player many thought he would become? Discuss.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Hold tight to your anger
"And don't fall to your fears"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball
Comments

Since: Feb 20, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:48 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

It's painful reading anything about Soriano.  




Since: Sep 22, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

I didn't notice anything in the article explaining that .244 BA of last season, nor anything that particularly points to a likely strong season.  No mention of a serious injury in 2011 nor some intense workout regimen this offseason.  Where's the beef?



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

They need to give him a breather 2-3 days a week
as a Cubs fan...I would recommend 7 days a week.



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 2:53 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

This is the dumbest article I've read in awhile bragging up Soriano. He is absolutely horrible at the game and probably th worst left fielder I have ever seen. I'll start bashing his offense first. First thing I hate about Soriano is watching him walk to the plate. The routine goes as this: 1. Walk up like he is a hall of fame legend, and takes his time digging in. 2. Spit 30 times, smile at the pitcher, spit 30 more times, then keep repeating this routine all through the at-bat. 3. Never gets a extra base hit it is either a soft single or occasionally home run the 15% of the time he makes contact. 3. Can't work counts and can't lay off sliders low and away even when he knows that is where it is going, or the 50 ft. curveballs in the dirt. To get Soriano out just throw 3 straight sliders low and away he swings every F'ing time!!!! 4. He uses way to big and heavy bat so he can't hit inside pitching and he always tries for the long ball never goes with the pitch it is pull pull pull!!!!! That is just a few gripes I have with this craptastic player. Now his defense his worst skill. 1. Does the same thing in the field spit, smile, spit, smile. 2. Ball is hit his way lets take the worst route possible to the ball so it either rolls past him to the wall or goes way over his head. 2. While taking the worst route ever, how about he jogs no sense of urgency no hustle at all not willing to go into walls or leap over them to make big plays for the team. 3. Ball comes his way and is within jogging or walking distance, so he jogs over or walks and hops to make the catch, only to usualy have to scenarios happen A.) He hops but drops the ball because he sucks so bad he can't even make routine plays little leaguers make, or B.) He hops only to come down with an injury that puts him out for weeks (which really did happen like two years ago) because his durablity and toughness is absolutely horrendous for a pro athlete. I would rather have one of the 12 years out in left than him because I'm almost certain it is a defensive upgrade over this guy. That is only a few gripes I have with Soriano, I cringe every game I see him, yet applaud when he is hurt and not playing because it actually means somebody better is going to play!!!! I don't care how much he is payed he needs benched and to stay there or sent down to double -A because he is not even good enough for Triple -A ball. Flat out Soriano is the worst baseball player I've witnessed in awhile he just sucks!!! Oh and I forgot to mention his baserunning. He was brought over because he could swipe bases but he hasn't been doing that either. It's the same story he jogs not run but jogs. Never tries for the extra base, can't steal them, can't get himself in scoring position he just can't do a thing. His best skill is spitting he would tear you all up and the whole league at sunflower spitting in the dugout, I defiantely would never face him there.



I also enjoy his home run jump and admiration on every pop out he makes. Plus, his hustling easy doubles into singles are fun also.     



Since: May 20, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 2:51 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

<Harry Carey Voice>
Two Twooo Pitchhhh a---nddd thaaaat isss a liiiine drive to left Cennnnnterrrrr fiiiield and could beeeeee two.
Sorrrrrreeeeeaaanoo roundiing first and will have a stand up douuuuuuuble. That is the theeeeeerd double of the year for Sorry-A-no and it is onnnly game 160.




Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 2:47 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

As a Cubs fan I want to thank Miller for this Soriano build up.....maybe someone will take his lazy ass off our hands....... if they actually believes this crap.



Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 2:46 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

This is nonsense. WAAAYYYY too early to be talking like this about anyone.  Right now, batters like Soriano are facing a lot of pitchers who will never see the light of a MLB clubhouse. Also, in early ST, pitchers are all throwing mostly fastballs.  Soriano is good at hitting fastballs from AA and AAA pitchers.  We KNEW that. What he has problems with are ML pitchers who throw breaking stuff for strikes. The jury will be out on that until we're well into the actual ML season. Sometimes one wonders if sportswriters are actually THIS stupid or are doing a favor for a player, agent or some other friend...like, maybe Theo Epstein.



Since: Mar 27, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 2:11 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

i onced drafted this guy pretty late when he got shipped to the nats. he did 40/40 for me that year.

i say he gets .262 w. 28 bombs and 2 SB.Cool 



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:47 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

Great article.  Keep them coming and continue to build up Soriano. You might want to add how well he's hustling and the awesome plays he's making in the field.  That way maybe someone in my fantasy league will draft him Way too early.  Myself, I wouldn't touch him with my last pick.  In fact, I'd bet Theo's already trying to get creative and move him. 



Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:25 pm
 

Cubs' Soriano stokes the what-could-be embers

This is the dumbest article I've read in awhile bragging up Soriano. He is absolutely horrible at the game and probably th worst left fielder I have ever seen. I'll start bashing his offense first. First thing I hate about Soriano is watching him walk to the plate. The routine goes as this: 1. Walk up like he is a hall of fame legend, and takes his time digging in. 2. Spit 30 times, smile at the pitcher, spit 30 more times, then keep repeating this routine all through the at-bat. 3. Never gets a extra base hit it is either a soft single or occasionally home run the 15% of the time he makes contact. 3. Can't work counts and can't lay off sliders low and away even when he knows that is where it is going, or the 50 ft. curveballs in the dirt. To get Soriano out just throw 3 straight sliders low and away he swings every F'ing time!!!! 4. He uses way to big and heavy bat so he can't hit inside pitching and he always tries for the long ball never goes with the pitch it is pull pull pull!!!!! That is just a few gripes I have with this craptastic player. Now his defense his worst skill. 1. Does the same thing in the field spit, smile, spit, smile. 2. Ball is hit his way lets take the worst route possible to the ball so it either rolls past him to the wall or goes way over his head. 2. While taking the worst route ever, how about he jogs no sense of urgency no hustle at all not willing to go into walls or leap over them to make big plays for the team. 3. Ball comes his way and is within jogging or walking distance, so he jogs over or walks and hops to make the catch, only to usualy have to scenarios happen A.) He hops but drops the ball because he sucks so bad he can't even make routine plays little leaguers make, or B.) He hops only to come down with an injury that puts him out for weeks (which really did happen like two years ago) because his durablity and toughness is absolutely horrendous for a pro athlete. I would rather have one of the 12 years out in left than him because I'm almost certain it is a defensive upgrade over this guy. That is only a few gripes I have with Soriano, I cringe every game I see him, yet applaud when he is hurt and not playing because it actually means somebody better is going to play!!!! I don't care how much he is payed he needs benched and to stay there or sent down to double -A because he is not even good enough for Triple -A ball. Flat out Soriano is the worst baseball player I've witnessed in awhile he just sucks!!! Oh and I forgot to mention his baserunning. He was brought over because he could swipe bases but he hasn't been doing that either. It's the same story he jogs not run but jogs. Never tries for the extra base, can't steal them, can't get himself in scoring position he just can't do a thing. His best skill is spitting he would tear you all up and the whole league at sunflower spitting in the dugout, I defiantely would never face him there.


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