Alfonso Soriano To Start Against White Sox on Saturday in Cactus League Play

Posted on 04 March 2010 by Lou

Alfonso Soriano continues to improve his conditioning this Spring and it looks like he will be ready to start against the cross-town-rival White Sox on Saturday in Mesa.  Soriano’s rehabbed knee is responding well so far and he has been working with new Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo (his old hitting coach with the Texas Rangers) on shortening his stride during his swing.  Hopefully all the extra work will pay off for Soriano in 2010.

Manager Lou Pinella is optimistic about getting much better production from the $18-million man this season: “He’s healthy, and we expect him to be a better all-around player. We’re not going to expect 30 stolen bases from him or anything like that.  Hitting in the 6th hole, he can save his legs a little more… What we need from Alfonso is some power and RBI production… Let’s hope he has an injury-free season and gets back to where he was a couple of years ago and [is] a little more disciplined and [has] a healthy season, and a productive one.”

Amen to that — Soriano can’t be as bad as his .241 batting average and .303 on-base percentage during the 2009 MLB schedule.  Despite playing in only 109 games in 2008 due to injuries, he still clubbed 29 HR’s and drove in 75 runs in 453 at-bats.  If he can get close to that in 2010, that would be a huge improvement for the Cubs.  It would also mean that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez would have a little more protection in the middle of the lineup.  That can only mean good things for the Cubs offensive production in 2010…

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