Soriano Gets a Leg Up

We all know Alfonso Soriano has been dealing with leg issues for awhile. Last August, against the Mets, he pulled up lame rounding 2nd base with a hamstring pull that kept him out of the lineup for a month and prevented him from running the bases aggressively the rest of the 2007 season. During spring training this year, people were questioning why he wasn't running all out. Manager Lou Piniella said in spring training he didn't want his left fielder running much to prevent any leg injuries. Certainly there was enough time for his hamstring injury to have healed in the offseason, so the Cub braintrust knew something wasn't right this season from the beginning in Arizona. This April, he pulled a calf muscle sometime before or after making a signature hop-catch in left field, which cost 2 weeks on the disabled list.

Last night after two days of rest (he didn't play the last game in Houston), Soriano obviously wasn't running normally on what should have been an easy leadoff double to the RF corner where he gimped toward 2nd base and had to do a headfirst slide to get into 2nd safely. Two plays later, Soriano "boldly" took off early on a line drive rope by Derrek Lee which Pirate right fielder Xavier Nady just missed making a diving catch. The ball popped out of Nady's glove letting Soriano score. If the catch was made, it would have been a baserunning blunder. His play in the outfield shows that his running is causing problems there as well. A single by Jason Bay in the bottom of the 1st, which if he had normal wheels would have been his fly ball to catch. It dropped in softly for a single and was ultimately fielded by CF Reed Johnson. In the 4th inning Zambrano and Soriano singled, Theriot walked. After a fielder's choice putting Sori at 3rd base, ARam hit a medium deep fly to right. Although Nady has a strong arm in RF, if Soriano had any confidence in his legs, I am sure he would have challenged Nady's arm, instead Nady's throw was cut off since it was obvious Soriano and his leg wasn't a threat to score. In the 5th, he hit into a double play and even the Pirate TV commentators were showing replays on how funky his running looked while not even making the play at first base close. Soriano was mercifully replaced in the bottom of the 6th by Micah Hoffpauir and as it was a blowout game one wonders if it was the score or Lou's frustration with Soriano's running that lead to that move. The Chicago TV feed had their camera's on the Cub dugout showing the intereaction between Piniella and Soriano where it appeared to me that Lou was trying to get Soriano to fess up and admit that his leg is hurting, although he adamantly denied being injured.

From this morning's Tribune:

"I said, 'What's wrong?' " Piniella recounted. "He said, 'It's confidence.' I guess I have to check with his confidence tomorrow."

Here's my proposal. When a hitter goes into a slump, he'll often change his bat. Go to a bat with a different weight or length. Given that Soriano's leg is the problem, maybe he needs to have the following conversation with one of the Cub broadcasters.

Ronnie: Hey, Big Boy. I see you're limping all the time now.

Sori: No, not limping. Just no confidence in my leg.

Ronnie: Here, try one of my spare legs, it's one of those carbon composite, J-shaped Cheetah blades for runners. It's now approved for Olympic athletes. I'm running around these days like a young pup. I'm sure it's exactly what you need and it will make your signature outfield-hop have some pop too.

Only the Cubs could have a leadoff man who limps.

Comments

Sore-iano?!

I love it. We're finally talking about the things that winning teams talk about instead of losing and how lousy our team is all the time.

I admire the man's willingness to play, but as some point the injury will affect the team's play overall. That time has come, it would appear. Bench him and make sure he's healthy before he comes back on the field, or else he's just another major injury waiting to happen - again.

A Jason Schmidt tidbit:

"Right-hander Jason Schmidt, who returned to Phoenix to attend to a family matter, reportedly threw a bullpen session in Arizona and is expected to make another rehab start Monday for San Bernardino of the California League."

Sorry...credit due to LA times...

i think the more hoffpauer gets lou love the more lou will
question sorianos health.

Soriano gets a Borg leg implant, now if we only could get Jeri Ryan to coach third base.

You like Jeri Ryan? Join the club.

I didn't see the game last night my dad said Soriano was limping bad.

If so sit him and put Micah in LF.

"The stop sign is up. You must comply."

+1. Well played.

Recent comments

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 13 hours 58 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 14 hours 3 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 14 hours 8 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 14 hours 20 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 14 hours 31 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 14 hours 56 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 15 hours 36 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 16 hours 49 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 17 hours 6 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 17 hours 10 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 17 hours 54 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 22 hours 45 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 59 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 1 day 3 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 8 hours ago view