Geovany Soto’s rookie year was just about as good as you could make it. Soto hit 23 home runs, drove in 86 runs and had a very respectable .285 batting average. Soto ran away with the National League Rookie of the Year honors and helped his club win a 2nd straight NL Central Division title. Getting swept out of the divisional round of the playoffs for a 2nd straight year was disappointing, but it didn’t stop Soto from preparing in earnest for the 2009 MLB season.
Instead of relaxing during the off-season and sitting back admiring his trophy and stats, Soto took on a tough workout regimen to get back in shape to handle the full-time catching duties for the long 162-game major league season. He’s already been hitting for a month and has worked hard on fine-tuning the swing. Soto even showed up to camp Thursday – a day before he was supposed to report with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.
While Soto will miss Henry Blanco – Soto’s back-up and mentor for the last 2 seasons – he is ready to continue to perform at a high level each and every day for the Cubs. He is realistic and understands that if he pushes too hard, he might not get the results to which he is accustomed. Soto summed it up best: “I want to feel like I’m fighting for a job. That’s how I know how to play. It keeps me aggressive, it keeps me on edge. That’s the way I want to approach it. I’m going to try to do whatever I’m capable of and stay within my game. If I try to hit more home runs, it’s not going to work. I have to be myself and see what happens.”