Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Soriano, Cubs staying hot
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum came up with a proper headline for Tuesday night’s win over the Los Angeles Angels.
“The Sori show continues,” Sveum said, describing Alfonso Soriano’s current hot streak.
Soriano hit two home runs off of Angels starter Joe Blanton, giving him eight home runs in his last 11 games. The Cubs hit five home runs at Wrigley Field in one game for the first time in more than seven years and have won seven of their last 11 games.
“For him to be 37 years old and carrying the ball club (is huge),” Sveum said “You talk about his character and work ethic and all the money he has made. He is playing like a rookie out there.”
Keeping the aging superstar fresh is a happy dilemma for Sveum. The sudden hot surge for Soriano began with two consecutive off days in Milwaukee followed by six consecutive appearances as a DH in Seattle and Oakland. With the team short on healthy outfielders, Sveum has little choice but to play the veteran every day until the All-Star break.
”Now you have to run him out there through the break,” he said. “Then he will get some days off after that.”
The numbers have been adding up like pinball scores for Soriano. In the last two weeks he is hitting .400 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs.
“This is exciting,” Soriano said. “I feel like I want to hit every inning. I try to enjoy it because I love to play this game and I love what I do. God blessed me with the talent so I just want to keep playing hard and try to get better every day.”
Other teams in need of offensive help are paying attention to Soriano’s torrid hitting streak, but he brushes off questions about the chance he might be playing his final few weeks as Cub.
“I never think that way,” Soriano said. “I just come to the ballpark and take it one day at a time. I enjoy my time here. This is a great city when we win because when we play (well), the fans love it.”
Soriano has one year remaining after 2013 and a total of $26 million left on his original eight-year $136 million deal he signed in November of 2006. The Dominican player has full no-trade protection with 10-5 veto rights.That is a part of the collective bargaining agreement when a player has 10 years in the league and 5 consecutive seasons or more with the same team.