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Sunday, March 6, 2011
Quade knows challenge of Wrigley walls

By Melissa Isaacson

MESA, Ariz. -- Talking about Alfonso Soriano's strong work ethic, his quick start at the plate this spring -- including going to the opposite field more often -- and his eagerness to improve, led to Cubs manager Mike Quade reminiscing Sunday about once coaching Soriano in outfield play.

It was the spring of Soriano’s second season with the Cubs, and it didn’t end well.

“We decided we were going to do some wall work and I ran him into the damn thing and he hurt his wrist,” Quade said. “You’re a young outfield coach for Lou [Piniella] and you’re going, ‘Oh man, I’m looking for work.’ He might miss a week and I might miss the rest of the year or years.”

Quade disputed the notion that Soriano is tentative at the warning track, but not that the ability to play the wall is vital.

“There are so many games decided at the wall,” he said. “Almost every night in every ballpark. As I taught outfield for years, I was never that conscious of the wall . . . and then with the unique shallow gaps at Wrigley and then the big well, there’s a lot of challenges I don’t think Sori had experienced before. Not [while] playing second base, not playing short as a young kid. The work was good [for him]. It just got carried away and I ran him into the wall.”