Alfonso Soriano shows Giants what they missed in Cubs’ win
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org August 31, 2012 8:08PM
Two innings before his two-run homer Friday, Alfonso Soriano connects for an RBI single that put the Cubs on the board. | Brian Kersey~Getty Images
Updated: October 2, 2012 6:11AM
The San Francisco Giants already knew Alfonso Soriano was worth trying to get in a trade this summer. But the veteran Cubs outfielder with veto rights didn’t want to play on the West Coast.
On Friday, Soriano punished the National League West leaders again with a two-run homer that started the Cubs’ four-run third inning off Madison Bumgarner (14-9) and accounted for the margin of victory in a 6-4 final. Chris Volstad (2-9) earned his second straight win.
At 36, Soriano is having one of his best seasons since joining the Cubs in 2007, playing error-free ball in left field — the only major-leaguer at his position to do so — and now sitting at 24 homers, all since May 15.
The 90-plus degree temperatures on Friday were good for him — and part of the reason why he didn’t want to go to San Francisco.
‘‘I like my body feeling more warm,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s hard to play on the West Coast and in that [AT&T Park]. It’s not the team. They have a very good team. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the city. It’s far from my home [in the Dominican Republic], and the weather with the program I have with my knee, it’s not going to help.’’
Soriano chose to make the best of the last two months of this season with the Cubs, a team he likes. But two years and $36 million remain on his contract, and the offseason could spark trade talk again.
Soriano will listen.
‘‘If they come to me, I’d think about it,’’ he said. ‘‘If they can get something for me, I’d be happy to go somewhere I’d be comfortable. I don’t want to have the same year losing a lot of games, but I think they’re smart enough and will figure out what they want to do.
‘‘I like it here, but I don’t like to lose, especially late now in my career. I’d like to stay here, but we’ll see what happens.’’
September continues to be about next year for the Cubs as rookies are evaluated and pitchers such as Volstad make their cases to stay.
It also will be about staying true to remaining competitive in a month the Cubs will try to avoid 100 losses while facing five playoff contenders in the Giants, the Washington Nationals, the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.
‘‘It’s important for these guys to understand you have to [try to] beat the best,’’ manager Dale Sveum said.
Rookie Anthony Rizzo, whose 10th homer of the season in the fifth inning Friday was his first since Aug. 5, said, ‘‘We’ll do our best to win ballgames. We want to play .500 in September, and everyone in here wants to finish strong.
‘‘Losing 100 is not something I want to be part of.’’
NOTE: The Cubs recalled left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau on Friday to replace Brooks Raley — the first of a series of planned moves as rosters expand today.
Outfielders Tony Campana and Dave Sappelt and infielder Adrian Cardenas will join the team today. On Sunday, right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich, who was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles, will join the team.
Left-hander Chris Rusin will rejoin the team Tuesday and start that day against the Nationals. Catcher Anthony Recker, acquired from Oakland a week ago, also will be added Tuesday. Right-hander Rafael Dolis could rejoin the team later.
The added personnel will give manager Dale Sveum more flexibility to make game moves.
‘‘You don’t have to worry about the innings as much with extra guys in the bullpen,’’ he said, with the Cubs halfway through a 20-game stretch. ‘‘You don’t have to worry about pinch-hitting for your catcher or pinch running. All those things help.’’