The Cubs No. 6 hitter was upset, now back in lineup

Alfonso Soriano(notes) wasn't too pleased that he was benched on Wednesday while Jake Fox(notes) patrolled left field for the Cubs. This from the Tribune's Paul Sullivan:

When manager Lou Piniella spoke to Soriano last week in Pittsburgh and told him he would be giving him a few more days off, Soriano said he understood. But Soriano was miffed when he learned his name wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday after he had a pair of hits Tuesday night.

"That's why I'm mad," Soriano said. "If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn't come today ready to play."

Yeah, that really stinks that he prepared unnecessarily. Shame. Let's repeat that final line, because it's so instructive:

"If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn't come today ready to play."

Awesome. It's just like that old baseball cliché: "Come to the ballpark ready to play everyday. Unless you're not playing. In that case, do nothing."

Soriano has actually gone 5-for-12 in his last three games, lifting his average to .230. He hasn't homered since June 7, though. He's back in the lineup on Friday, hitting sixth against Chris Carpenter(notes). The blog editor will attend in the rain.

Soriano has had poor luck on balls-in-play this season (.263 BABIP in '09, .309 career), but his line-drive rate has also dipped (17.0 in '09, 20.6 career). R.J. Anderson offers a few interesting thoughts on Soriano's struggles over at FanGraphs. Maybe it is, in fact, the lack of fastballs. Or maybe it's luck. Or maybe it's the knee. Or maybe we're witnessing the beginning of the decline phase for the a 33-year-old. That would be the worst possible explanation, since Soriano will earn $18 million in his age-38 season.

Please offer your theories in comments, and a buy/sell recommendation if you're feeling generous. I've made no investment in Soriano, but I'd take him off your hands at a reduced price. (That last sentence was intended only for Zeffren. Everyone else, please disregard).

Update: Hopefully everyone enjoyed the fielding clinic today. "Mine! Mine! Mine! Mi--! Um...oops. My bad."


Photo via Getty Images

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