Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’

Going on a power trip in Mesa

Spring Training numbers can usually be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a small sample size, pitchers may be restricted as to what they can throw and players often are facing opponents they have never seen before—and might never see again. But the way the Cubs’ offense is mashing 22 games into the spring, one would hope it can continue once the wins and losses start to count.

Through Thursday, the Cubs led all major league squads in extra-base hits and total bases and were second in home runs. They are slugging .470 as a team, good for fifth in the majors, and are seventh in the league with an .805 OPS.

Many have written off left fielder Alfonso Soriano after an average 2011 campaign, but he appears to have come to Mesa ready to play. In 31 at-bats, the 36-year-old has 11 hits, five homers and 11 RBI. He is one of 11 Cubs position players who has recorded at least 20 at-bats with an average of over .300.

Other pleasant surprises have been outfielder Joe Mather and second baseman Darwin Barney. Hoping to make the squad as the team’s fourth outfielder, Mather is hitting .421 in 38 at-bats and slugging .929 with three homers and 12 RBI. In 25 at-bats, Barney has 11 hits—five for doubles—and an on-base percentage of .462.

While it’s easy to chalk up these gaudy numbers to facing Spring Training pitching, this should give fans a glimmer of hope heading into April.

Cactus Notes: Roster set for spring opener

MESA, Ariz.–Cubs manager Dale Sveum has settled on a lineup for the first Cactus League game of the season against the Oakland A’s on Sunday, and Cubs fans might be surprised to see Alfonso Soriano back in the leadoff spot.

“He asked me a couple days ago what I thought about batting leadoff and I said, ‘I’m open,’” Soriano said. “My last time batting leadoff here was two, three years ago. I said to the manager, I’m open to any decision he makes.”

Tomorrow’s lineup will feature all of the projected Opening Day starters, minus catcher Geovany Soto, who is still nursing a groin injury. Welington Castillo, one of the many talented catchers battling for the backup job, will start in his place.The rest of the lineup will look like this:

LF Soriano

3B Stewart

SS Castro

1B LaHair

CF Byrd

RF DeJesus

DH Baker

2B Barney

C Castillo

P R. Lopez

Cactus Notes: Game day

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs are gearing up for their first live game action of the season this afternoon at HoHoKam Park. After morning workouts, the club will play an intrasquad game–blue team versus white–essentially pitting the major league squad against the minor leaguers. The game starts at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Here are today’s intrasquad lineups:

1. Soriano – LF

2. Stewart – 3B

3. Castro – SS

4. LaHair – 1B

5. Byrd – CF

6. DeJesus – RF

7. Lalli – C

8. Barney – 2B

9. DeWitt – DH

T. Wood – P


1. Jackson – CF

2. Sczcur – RF

3. Baker – 2B

4. Rizzo – 1B

5. Johnson – L

6. Vitters – 3B

7. Lake – SS

8. Brenly – C

9. Campana – DH

Wells – P

August 2011 Vine Line sneak peek

August 2011 Vine Line cover

Featuring the Cubs’ veteran left fielder, the August issue of Vine Line remembers Fergie Jenkins’ Cy Young season and  gives an insider’s look to the Yankees series at Wrigley.

  • Play it Forward: Alfonso Soriano has taken Cubs prospects under his wing.
  • Total Domination: Ferguson Jenkins‘ Cy Young season still impresses 40 years later.
  • The Profile: Chris Carpenter.
  • Glory Days: 9 innings with Jose Cardenal.
  • Stretching Out with Joel McHale.
  • Farm Report: No rest for the minor league All-Stars.
  • Minor league notebooks and more.

Get your insider’s pass to Wrigley Field today at

The Buzz: What’s your favorite cookout food?

The upcoming June 2011 issue of Vine Line features Koyie Hill and Sean Marshall grilling up High Plains Bison steaks and burgers for a group of Cubs minor-leaguers. So with Memorial Day and cookout season right around the corner, we asked four other Cubs what they’ll be grilling this year. Subscribe or give a gift today.

Casey ColemanCasey Coleman, RHP
“My girlfriend’s from Tennessee, and her grandma cooks a whole meal by herself: ham, turkey and sweet, fried corn. In Florida, the only time we would cook out like that is Thanksgiving.”

John Grabow, LHP
“Carne asada tacos. I usually make homemade salsa, guacamole. I love to grill. That’s one of my favorite things to do in the off-season, especially on football Sundays.”

Jeff Baker, IF/OF
“I’m a hamburger-and-hot dog-on-a-grill guy. It’s about the only thing I can cook. Ketchup and relish, the more relish the better. Then go jump in the pool.”

Alfonso SorianoAlfonso Soriano, OF
“In the Dominican, it’s tropical food: rice and beans and chicken. So that’s what I like in the summer. And mangoes, too.”

Game 162

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgYesterday brought the 2009 season to a close, and despite the Cubs being out of it, the 162nd game reminded me why we stick it through to the end.

This time it was to see Sam Fuld pick up his first major-league RBI. And of course, he did it with some style, hitting a home run to deep rightfield to get it done all by himself. Fuld made a name for himself — and rewarded many of the organization’s scouts and minor-league coaches who have praised him for his baseball IQ and plate discipline — this season with a number of full-extension catches as well as a .299 batting average and .409 on-base percentage.

Being that it was Fuld’s first home run, it was worth paying close attention to the dugout’s reaction. Sure enough, the team gave Fuld the silent treatment while the outfielder beckoned them on a little bit. They held still until Fuld walked by Derrek Lee, who reached back to give him a big pat on the back.

“I kind of sniffed out what they were doing when I got back in there,” Fuld told reporters. “But it meant a lot to me.”

Once again, Cubs fans, you showed why you are the best in baseball. After Derrek Lee’s eighth-inning flyout, the near-sellout crowd gave him a standing ovation for his outstanding season.

“I wasn’t expecting it; I didn’t know how to react,” Lee told reporters after the game. “I appreciate it. It was really cool.”

Thanks to all of our fans who supported us at the ballpark or across the nation by subscribing to Vine Line this season.

Seen around the ballpark this last weekend:

The Alfonso Soriano promotional poster from 2008 hanging in the clubhouse, with a bandage stuck over his left knee.


? Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster continuing to go on runs together, even after Lilly had thrown his last pitch in 2009.


? Top Cubs prospects Brett Jackson, Casey Coleman and Kyler Burke wearing eager smiles as they were taken through the Cubs clubhouse to meet the big-leaguers and on the field for a ceremony with Double-A manager Ryne Sandberg (right).


? Sandberg and Lou Piniella talking Cubs baseball in the home dugout, minutes before the national anthem on Saturday.


— Sean Ahmed

Rooting for a good cause

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgOn Sept. 2, Geovany Soto chaired the 2nd Annual Rooters Ball at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in downtown Chicago. Organized by the West Side Rooters Social Club, the event benefitted Chicago Cubs Charities, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Major League Baseball Dominican Development Alliance.

Several current Cubs players joined Soto, including Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Carlos Marmol, Jake Fox, Sam Fuld, Randy Wells and John Grabow. Also present was “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, chairman of the West Side Rooters Social Club.

We talked to several players, in Spanish, about their charitable support:

VL: Why are you participating in the Rooters Ball?

Ramirez Soto Marmol copy.jpgGeovany Soto:
Well, growing up in Puerto Rico, I was lucky that I had everything I needed and I was healthy all my life. But I saw the needs around me, and I thought that, if I ever had the chance, I would love to help kids. And in this case, kids with diabetes need a lot of help. Also, when I was playing in the minors, I had a coach [Alan Dunn] whose son was diagnosed with diabetes. I had a really good relationship with him and his son, and that painful moment for them affected me because they were important to me.

Alfonso Soriano: Geovany invited me. I am here supporting him in this worthy cause. Tonight we are participating for the Chicago Cubs.

Jake Fox: No. 1, I have great respect for Geovany Soto, and when he invited me to participate, I did it gladly. This is a noble cause, and when a player of his caliber asks you to help, you do it because that’s what friends are for. Another reason is that my wife has diabetes. She is a Type 1 diabetic, and every time I can help JDRF, I am first in line.

VL: We know some of the proceeds from this event will go to the Dominican Republic through the MLB Dominican Development Alliance. What does it feel like to know that you are helping the Dominican community?


1000 Words: One big step for Sori

072709 Soriano grand slam.JPG

Alfonso Soriano turns his night around, hitting a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 13th.

Drawing closer

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgI just sat down with Lou Piniella for our “In the Dugout” Q&A, a first-half wrap-up to appear in the next issue of Vine Line. With one game remaining here before the All-Star break, Lou talked about the whole gamut: the Cubs’ injuries, depth, hitting struggles, success in the rotation, training staff and more.

One interesting note from our sit-down is Lou’s self-identification as a managerial “pragmatist.” He brought that up when discussing the recent success of Alfonso Soriano batting third, fifth and sixth in the order. Lou has seen a difference in Soriano’s at-bats — a patience and selectivity that wasn’t there before — and it sounds like Lou will go with what works. He didn’t necessarily expect the change to affect Soriano’s plate discipline, but Lou has been encouraged by the result.

Certainly it’s been a season that has demanded pragmatism, considering the litany of injuries that have struck the Cubs. It’s a situation Lou calls “almost comical” in a half-joking, half-disbelieving sense. He pointed out the really impressive work by Jake Fox as one of the things he looks forward to seeing continue in the second half.

For more, I’d encourage you to pick up the August issue of Vine Line. You can subscribe online or by calling 1-800-248-9467.

Fox won’t be starting tonight — at third base or behind the plate — as regulars Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez man the corners.

Fuld, CF
Theriot, SS
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Soriano, LF
Bradley, RF
Baker, 2B
Hill, C
Wells, RHP

Right-hander Adam Wainwright (9-5, 3.09 ERA) pitches for the Cardinals.

And we have a late addition to the lineup: Punk rock band Green Day will be singing the seventh-inning stretch.

— Sean Ahmed

1000 Words: Hellos and game-enders


Mark DeRosa visits his former infield mates, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot. (All photos by Stephen Green)

Derrek Lee rounds first base after hitting a home run off former teammate Kerry Wood.

Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley jump for joy after the walk-off winner hit by Theriot.