Sveum says Soriano doesnt need the big stick

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Sveum says Soriano doesnt need the big stick

MILWAUKEE Maybe Alfonso Soriano connects and goes off on one of those hot streaks where he carries the Cubs offense.

But its the middle of May and the 136 million man still hasnt hit a home run yet.

The fact of the matter is fastballs are getting too deep, manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. Whatever it is, its just a strange phenomenon right now that Edwin Maysonet has more home runs than Alfonso Soriano.

Maysonet, a Milwaukee Brewers utility guy, got his first one in Saturdays win over the Cubs. (Sveum said that Chris Volstad who gave up that grand slam and has a 6.92 ERA will make his next start and keep a spot in the rotation for now.) Outside of Bryan LaHair, the Cubs havent seen many big moments like that.

Thats tough to swallow, Sveum said. We got to get some two- and three-run home runs out of that position. Theres no question about it. Were having trouble sustaining innings.

Soriano woke up on Sunday hitting .250 with 15 RBI and a .284 on-base percentage. Sveum, an old hitting coach, has suggested using a different bat.

Soriano has been open to the idea and made some changes. But Sveum said Soriano just didnt go as far as I wanted.

Theres no question Id like to see a much lighter bat, Sveum said. He has adjusted a little bit, but I think a really smaller, lighter bat would help a lot.

Soriano is among the teams hardest workers, and one of the more popular players in the clubhouse. He does not have a reputation of being difficult to deal with.

Its one of those things where you can tell a guy to use a really small, light bat Sveum said. The physics alone it makes sense.

Youre talking a few ounces two, three ounces and I think a shorter bat only makes sense to help out. Theres no question.

Maybe it will all even out for Soriano by the end of the year. Albert Pujols and David Ortiz are the only two other players with 10-straight 20-homer seasons through 2011.

The power outage in Southern California became a national story. It took Pujols until May 6 before he hit his first home run for the Los Angeles Angels.

Soriano is 36 years old and likes swinging the big bat. Its worked for most of his career. Hes watched his 340 homers fly in the big leagues. His manager understands the dynamics.

Its very hard to do, Sveum said. Its almost like a (mechanical thing). Its hard to change your mechanics. Its hard to change something thats felt so comfortable.

Sometimes when you take a 35-, 35-and-a-half-inch bat, and you make it 34, (it) looks like its 31 inches, (just) so much smaller. Those things are harder to get over than people think.

Anthony Rizzo fires back at Miguel Montero: 'That labels you as a selfish player'

Anthony Rizzo fires back at Miguel Montero: 'That labels you as a selfish player'

Anthony Rizzo pulled no punches in firing back at Miguel Montero after Tuesday night's rant.

Montero didn't even wait to get changed after the Washington Nationals stole seven bases, immediately throwing pitcher Jake Arrieta under the bus for not holding players on.

Rizzo — the face of the franchise and one of the leaders in the clubhouse — hopped on David Kaplan's radio show on ESPN 1000 Wednesday morning and aboslutely ripped Montero:

Here are Rizzo's complete comments:

"He's obviously frustrated. Whenever anyone steals seven bases, Miggy gets frustrated. It's his second time barking in the media and not just going to his teammates. It's something as a veteran like he is, you'd think he'd make smarter decisions about it."

Rizzo said he was not aware of the Montero rant in the clubhouse Tuesday night and only heard about it afterwards.

"I had no idea aobut it until I got back to the hotel and saw all this stuff. I got a couple text messages from a couple of my friends just kinda asking, 'What the hell is this guy doing?' Listen, we win as a team, we lose as a team. If you start pointing fingers, I think that just labels you as a selfish player. I disagree. We have another catcher that throws out everyone who steals and he has Jon Lester who doesn't pick over. It's no secret. I think going to the media with things like that, I don't think it's very professional."

So how does Rizzo handle it from here?

"Something like this, it's out in the public now. Things that get handled with coffee or in the clubhouse are things that people never know about. Sometimes, they get out. But this was obviously all over 'Sportscenter' last night and whatnot and we're talking about it today. We win as 25, we lose as 25. To call your teammates out via the press, I mean, what's the point?"

Rizzo is dead on in referencing Willson Contreras, who is throwing out 34 percent of runners attempting to steal against him, even serving as Lester's personal catcher. Contreras may have one of the best arms in the game, but he is catching the exact same pitching staff Montero is and has found a way to nab 16 would-be basestealers out of 47 attempts.

Meanwhile, Cubs numbers list Montero as 0-for-31 in throwing out basestealers.

The league average caught-stealing rate is 28 percent.

Preview: Cubs continue series with Nationals tonight on CSN

Preview: Cubs continue series with Nationals tonight on CSN

The Cubs continue their series with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night in the nation's capital, and you can catch all the action on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app.

Coverage from the District of Columbia with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies begins at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the game for reaction and analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: John Lackey (5-8, 4.74 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (8-2, 3.57 ERA)

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