Lou Piniella finally broke down and did what a lot of us have been wishing he would do for months: bat Alfonso Soriano somewhere other than lead-off. The question then became: how will Soriano react to no longer getting his way? So far, the answer has been: by still not hitting…and by saying he’s cool with the decision.
”That’s fine,” Soriano said of the move, ”as long as we play like we’re playing. If the team hits better, and we start winning, that’s fine.”
The move has been successful so far from a team stand-point. Kosuke Fukudome has been getting on base and scoring runs as the new lead-off man, and the gaping black hole represented by Soriano’s presence has been less pronounced now that he’s been batting sixth.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the move will help remedy what has been ailing Soriano. The problem for him is that the Cubs have been operating without much contribution from him for several weeks now and have possibly begun feeling like they can win the division even if he doesn’t heat it up. And, unlike last year, there’s a guy on the bench, Jake Fox, who if given the chance could provide power comparable to Soriano’s.
In other words, Soriano might as well talk happy about the move, because the way he’s been playing, he ain’t got a leg to stand on.