3/3 Soriano expected to start Saturday
Lou Piniella says Alfonso Soriano looks healthy this spring but don’t expect the left fielder to start a Cactus League game until Saturday. Piniella said he’s impressed by changes Soriano has made after working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, such as shortening his stride.
“He was moving really, really well in the outfield today,” Piniella said of Soriano, who is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery. “We’re expecting a good year out of him.”
This is the first year in which Soriano will not be leading off for the Cubs. He was dropped to sixth in the lineup last July 4.
“I think he’s fine with it,” Piniella said. “We’re not going to expect 30 stolen bases from him or anything like that. Hitting in the sixth hole, he can save his legs a little more. What we need from Alfonso is some power and RBI production. The six hole is a really nice spot to hit in a National League lineup. I know he’s comfortable with it because I’ve asked him. Let’s hope he has an injury-free season and gets back to where he was a couple years ago and a little more disciplined and a healthy season and a productive one.”
Being healthy should definitely help Soriano in the outfield. He did not throw out any baserunners in 2009. A big part of the problem was that he couldn’t plant on his left leg because of his sore knee.
“He’s healthy and we expect him to be a better all-around player,” Piniella said.
— Carrie Muskat