Soto still a fan of 'The Friendly Confines'

April, 17, 2013
4/17/13
4:03
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Geovany SotoAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhGeovany Soto has fond memories from his days in Wrigley Field, where he enjoyed some success.
CHICAGO -- Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto, who returned to Wrigley Field for this week's series after playing five years for the Chicago Cubs, does not agree with the disparaging remarks his teammate Lance Berkman said about Wrigley.

"This is one of the special places in baseball," Soto said. "Being back here at Wrigley is a pretty special place. It feels good to be back."

Soto was the National League rookie of the year and an All-Star in 2008, but now he is the backup for former Chicago White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski. Soto was told that he would be the starter when he signed a one-year, $3 million contract after becoming a free agent last November. But that was before Texas signed Pierzynski in December.

Soto feels like he left behind some unfinished business with the Cubs after being traded to Texas last July.

“You always want to play for that championship," he said. "We went to the playoffs a couple of years.

"When I was here I always gave it my all and left my heart out there. I have no regrets. I have a lot of awesome memories here. It feels like home."

Berkman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News that Wrigley is "one of the worst places in baseball for, well, just about anything." He said he was happy to hear about plans to renovate the 99-year-old park.

"That is his personal opinion, you have to respect," Soto said. "Renovations are good anywhere.

"This ballpark represents a 100-year-old stadium and it has a lot of tradition and a lot of history. You really can't substitute that. I think it is a really special place. Having the tradition and vibe you get in this place, I think it is pretty much magical and overwhelms any extra amenities you could have somewhere else.To me the electricity and the fans this place brings is great. It has been great for me in my opinion."

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .284
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .908
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOE. Jackson 108