4/14 Soriano: "I like to play nine innings"
Alfonso Soriano says he doesn’t want to be pulled early in games so he’s doing what he can to improve his defense even if fans don’t agree.
Asked if he was bothered at being lifted early, as he was in the home opener, Soriano said Wednesday it was “50-50.”
“I think Tyler [Colvin] is a better fielder than me,” Soriano said. “[Lou Piniella] does it because it gives us a better defense. At the same time, I would like to play nine innings and play the whole game. The only way I can control that is to play defense and that’s what I have to do.”
Piniella met with the outfielders before the season began to go over his game plan on how he would rotate them. He did not threaten to take away Soriano’s playing time if he didn’t perform, as reported by one Chicago newspaper.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Piniella said of the report.
“They’ll all play,” Piniella said. “I’ve got five good outfielders. I can’t sit two of them and just play three — that we’re not going to do. All I said was be patient with me and I’m going to have to take one of them out of the lineup occasionally and give somebody some at-bats.
“Down the road, when we get into this thing, obviously the guys who are doing the best are the ones who will get more at-bats,” Piniella said. “When I played, that’s the way it was and I think it’ll be that way 20 years from now.”
Soriano understands that.
“I have to do both, play defense and hit,” he said. “If I don’t produce, I cannot play.”
– Carrie Muskat