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Sunday, March 25, 2012
Soriano's 'big ol' log' to stay for now

By Doug Padilla

Alfonso Soriano
Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano feels comfortable swinging a big bat.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Alfonso Soriano knows there are concessions to be made as you get older, but there is one he isn’t ready to give in to just yet.

Those big-barrel bats he hauls up to the plate four times a game aren’t going anywhere.

Soriano looked around the Chicago Cubs clubhouse Sunday morning and agreed that his 35-inch, 33-ounce bats are probably the biggest in the dugout.

Making them look even bigger than most is that while the bats of other hitters taper slowly from handle to barrel, Soriano’s bats change sharply from skinny handle to full barrel. Earlier this spring, manager Dale Sveum called Soriano’s bat “that big ol’ log he swings.”

Soriano’s bats could compare to a driver -- with a slightly longer shaft and bigger club head. There is less margin for error, but when all goes right the power potential is huge.

He admits his legs aren’t as strong as they used to be and he has reduced his front leg kick when he swings to help improve his timing. But the big bats will stay.

It’s not that Soriano is being stubborn. He said he tried going to a 32-ounce bat toward the end of the 2010 season when he was feeling worn down, but he felt he couldn’t get his swing plane to align.

“I had too many swing and misses,” he said.

So far this spring he leads the Cubs with five home runs, so the big bats are doing their job. If that isn’t the case when the season starts it could be a subject worth revisiting.