<
>

Alfonso Soriano thriving in DH spot

SEATTLE -- This whole designated hitter thing is working out pretty well for Alfonso Soriano. So well, in fact, that it appears the veteran is on the verge of breaking out of his recent slump.

Soriano, who smashed a two-run, 11th-inning homer to help the Chicago Cubs to a 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, is now 5-for-9 with four RBIs since occupying the DH spot on Friday. He's expected to stay there for the remaining four games of Chicago's nine-game road swing.

"DH isn't so bad," Soriano said, chuckling after his game-winning homer. "I'm enjoying it."

It helps that Soriano can take reps in the cage in between at-bats instead of playing defense. That keeps him from standing in the outfield for the entire game.

"With my age, sometimes it's not comfortable to be in left field for nine innings," the 37-year-old said.

Soriano came into this weekend's series hitting just .195 in June, but if the past two games are any indication, he just might have his mojo back at the plate.

"You can count on it happening," Saturday's starter Jeff Samardzija said. "He's been swinging well in batting practice, so a lot of times it's just timing that makes a difference, especially with a veteran guy like him."

Of course, if Soriano continues his hot hitting, trade rumors will surely start swirling again -- especially for an American League team looking for a DH, now that it appears Soriano can thrive in that spot.

But the vet says he isn't expecting anything on that front.

"The last couple of years, there always have been trade rumors and nothing happens," Soriano said, adding that he hasn't spoken with Cubs president Theo Epstein. "I just want to focus on the day-by-day and see what happens."