Less pain, quick swing spark Soriano run

MINNEAPOLIS -- Among the many reasons for Alfonso Soriano's turnaround since the middle of May, two stand out.

He no longer experiences knee pain when he plants his front foot on his swing and he has started feeling comfortable with a lighter bat.

Soriano said Sunday that his left knee would throb with pain when he set down his foot while striding on his swing. Leg exercises have helped to strengthen muscles around his knee and take some of the pressure off the tender areas.

Soriano said he only feels discomfort now when he starts to run and when he tries to slow down. Otherwise he hasn’t been this pain free since the second week of April.

As far as the lighter bat, he was hesitant to go to one this spring, saying he tried it before and it only led to more problems. He finally made the switch early in the season, though, at the request of the coaching staff.

Now that he is hitting again he has no plans to go back to his heavier bat saying he is still swinging one that is a few ounces lighter.

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of at the end of the season there are certain guys that if they stay healthy and get enough at-bats that media guide won’t lie, they’ll end up somewhere around their career numbers,” Sveum said. “That’s why he has 350 home runs, 400 doubles, because if you get enough at-bats those numbers will produce. They have been that good in their careers.”

After starting the season without a home run over the first month and a half, Soriano’s 12 long balls have him on pace for 33. He hasn’t hit that many since 2007, his first season with the Cubs.