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Saturday, August 10, 2013
Soriano's slump continues

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- The batter's box has become unkind territory for Alfonso Soriano since he joined the Yankees.

"A little lost," Soriano said. "Swinging at bad pitches. I have to be more selective at home plate and swing at more strikes."

Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano hasn't hit much since rejoining the Yankees.
Soriano's struggles as a Yankee continued on Saturday, finishing 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Yankees' 9-3 loss to the Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Soriano, acquired July 26, is just 10-for-50 since joining the team and has collected only six hits in his past 37 at-bats.

"Hopefully tomorrow, I will feel better at home plate," Soriano said.

Soriano, in his second stint with the Yankees, has flashed some power, blasting two homers in his first 13 games, but he hasn't provided a spark to a lifeless offense.

Since going 4-for-5 with a homer against Tampa Bay on July 28, Soriano has six hits in his past 10 games and has struck out 16 times. In the first two games against Detroit, he's 0-for-9 with six strikeouts and has left seven men on base, often in crucial spots.

Saturday, with the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning, Soriano struck out with runners on first and third with one out. The Yankees didn't score that inning, and Detroit scored four runs in the fifth. Soriano fanned in his final two at-bats.

Both Soriano and Yankees' manager Joe Girardi said the veteran has been chasing too many pitches. Soriano said he isn't familiar with many of these pitchers after playing in the National League for so long, and he needs to swing at strikes. He added that he'll be fine once he chooses better pitches to go after.

"When he gets a good pitch to hit he usually hits it. And when he chases pitches, those are tough to center," Girardi said. "You look at some of the pitches that have been down in the zone that he went after; they are hard to put in play and really hard to hit them hard and do some damage."

Soriano's slide comes while second baseman Robinson Cano and left fielder Curtis Granderson are also going through rough patches, leaving the team with a lack of production from the middle of the lineup.

Cano has been mostly quiet since the All-Star break, while Granderson is 4-for-25 since returning to the lineup on August 2. Saturday, with the trio batting third through fifth, they went 1-for-11, with Cano delivering the lone hit.

"You can't expect the same guys to do it every night," Girardi said. "A lot of our hits came from the top of the order, and we need production throughout the order or its hard to put up big runs totals. That's the bottom line. It can't just fall on one or two guys. Everybody has to contribute."

Soriano entered this homestand just one hit shy of 2,000 for his career. After nine at-bats thus far against the Tigers, he heads into the series finale Sunday still one hit away from that plateau.

"It's hard to not think about it," Soriano said. "Sooner or later, I want to get the hit, and I know when I get the hit I will be more loose at home plate."