Saturday, June 9, 2012
Protection for red-hot Soriano falls to Baker
By Doug Padilla
MINNEAPOLIS -- The lineup protection for the hottest power hitter in baseball will fall to Chicago Cubs utility man Jeff Baker on Saturday.
Baker not only got the start at first base in place of Bryan LaHair, he was inserted in the lineup against the Twins in the No. 5 hole, directly behind Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano’s 11 home runs are the most in baseball since May 15 and he has been even hotter of late with a two-homer game Friday night at Target Field.
But on Friday night, there was LaHair and his 12 home runs as an option if Twins pitchers avoided Soriano. On Saturday, avoiding Soriano gives them Baker and his one home run and six RBI.
Baker was looking at the positives about the situation.
“The good thing is behind hitting behind somebody that is so hot, hopefully he’ll be on base for you and you can get a hit and keep it going,” he said.
He certainly won’t be insulted if Soriano gets walked in front of him.
“I’m comfortable with my numbers in these situations,” Baker said. “If that is something that happen I’ll be ready and hopefully instead of one run scoring two runs will be scoring.”
And if the pitcher wants to take a peek at the on-deck circle when Soriano comes to the plate, Baker can always puff his chest out a little bit and make himself look big and intimidating.
“Yeah, I’ll lift my shirt up to make sure my pipes show and I’ll get my tan line out and maybe it will scare somebody and go from there,” he quipped.