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Saturday, April 13, 2013
Soriano starting to hit his way out of slump

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano has had slow starts in the past but nothing close to the unproductive offensive drought he has experienced the first eleven games of this season.

Soriano seems reassured by last season’s rebound after a nasty six-week slump. He was able to turn his season around in mid-May, ending the season with a career-high 104 RBI. The Cubs veteran outfielder seems more focused on the Cubs record than his subpar at-bats so far in 2013.

“I am not happy with the record, but I am happy the way we have played," he said. “We have played hard and smart most of the time. I think when the weather gets better and we put it all together, we will be a better team."

A quiet confidence that burns inside the Dominican player allows him to move forward with his daily plan while staying positive. Soriano had played the first ten games of the season with only one extra-base hit and no runs batted in.

"I know myself and have a lot of confidence in myself," he said. "After only ten games, I feel my swing is getting better. Right now, they aren’t giving me good pitches to hit so I try to make adjustments. As soon as they start pitching to me and I have my swing in place, I will be fine.”

Soriano didn’t hit a home run in the Cubs' first 41 games of 2012. He then proceeded to hit 32 home runs in the next 121 games.

"I have been doing this forever," he said. "A young player might panic if he goes into a bad streak, but the guys who play a long time believe in themselves like I do. I am still here for that reason, so my confidence never goes down. I have talent that God gave me, so I never lose my belief I can do well. I feel like this is the second spring training. This one is in cold weather. I have been working hard. Sooner or later, everything will be better.”

After getting three hits on Saturday, the 37-year-old Cub said he is still open to a trade if management comes to him during the season. Soriano has one year left after 2012 on his original eight-year, $136 million mega deal.

"I will listen to whatever they are thinking about, “ he related. "I would like to stay because I like the owner and the baseball people. I don’t want to say I have to finish my contract here because I don’t want to put pressure on them. I don’t want to put pressure on me, either. It is open if they want to trade me to a contender. I hope we are contending and we don’t have to talk about me being traded.“