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Saturday, July 28, 2012
Cubs' Soriano cleaning up in No. 4 spot

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano seems to be right at home in the clean-up spot.

His first full season as a No. 4 hitter has been a success, even on a club that has struggled for offense for long stretches.

Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano's production has spiked with him hitting in the No. 4 hole.

Soriano drove in two more runs Saturday with a first-inning triple and now has 61 RBIs on the season. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jason Kubel started the day with a National League-leading 72 RBIs.

After a slow start when Soriano looked to be nothing more than a singles hitter, he started to settle in at the middle of the season’s second month. Since May 15, Soriano was tied for the NL lead and tied for second in the major leagues with 19 home runs.

He has also reached base safely in 26 of his last 31 games.

“At my age now it’s a different game,” the 36-year-old Soriano said. “I used to hit with power and speed. Now I don’t have the speed but I have the power. Now my game has changed a little bit and I feel comfortable. That’s my first time with a full season and I started to learn quickly and I feel comfortable now.”

Saturday was Soriano’s 63rd game in the cleanup spot after limited opportunities there earlier in his career. It might have taken a little bit of time, but Soriano seems to have it figured out now. Since May 15 he also had a .956 OPS heading into play Saturday.