Cubs

Kaplan: The reason for Soriano's solid start

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Kaplan: The reason for Soriano's solid start

Monday, April 25, 2011Posted: 7:10 p.m.
By David Kaplan
CSNChicago.com

If you are looking for a reason that Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano has gotten off to a solid start and appears to be more comfortable at the plate and in the field look no further than his injured knee that is finally 100.

For the first time in a long while I feel comfortable with my knee. Last year it bothered me a lot but this year it is healed and I have a lot more confidence in it, Soriano told me in a recent conversation that we had at Wrigley Field.

Sorianos early offensive numbers suggest a bigger power season than Cubs fans have seen from him in a long time as he is on pace to hit over 30 HRs and to drive in over 100. Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has been spending considerable time working with Soriano and agrees that his knee problems held him back over the past couple of seasons.

Soriano mentally has much more confidence in his knee and he is doing a much better job getting into a hitting position which is allowing him to execute the plan he has at the plate. Last year he was trying to time everything and it didnt matter if it was a fastball or a breaking ball. You never change your timing. You get in a hitting position and let the ball come to you. That is why we work on our mechanics every day. Soriano has been making great decisions and going the other way with the pitch, he told us.

Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is a huge fan of Starlin Castro and he gave him high praise when we sat down with him during the CubsDodgers series "I've been in this game 21 years and I have seen many of the great hitters. This guy is really special. He has one of the best paths to the ball for any right hander that I have seen in a long time. I saw Miguel Cabrera play recently and on a ball inside I saw how he approached it and I think Starlin has a better approach. That's how good this kid can be. You haven't seen this kind of hand and eye coordination in a long time but what I really like about him is he's so humble. He just stays within himself and goes about his work. He feels no pressure and you can tell by his body language that he feels no pressure. He knows he can hit and believes it. That is a great attribute."

Hey Cubs Fans, You Think Alfonso Sorianos Deal is Long????

According to Brewers.com because of deferrals built into his new contract, Ryan Braun could be drawing paychecks from the Brewers until he's 47 years old. According to the Associated Press, the five-year, 105 million extension Braun signed Thursday includes at least 18 million in interest-free deferrals to be paid in equal installments each July 1 from 2022-2031. The deferrals were key to the deal from both sides. Read the rest of the article HERE.

David Kaplan is the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @thekapman.

Joe Maddon has specific plans to rewatch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

Joe Maddon has specific plans to rewatch entire Game 7 of 2016 World Series

One of the joys of life is basking in our past accomplishments. There’s nothing like recalling great memories with a fond appreciation for what once was.

Joe Maddon’s biggest accomplishment as a big league manager is leading the Cubs to their first championship in 108 years. We’re nearly four years removed from the 2016 World Series, and by now, Maddon has to have watched the series’ grand finale, right? Heck, MLB Network just reaired Games 5-7 two weeks ago.

Wrong.

On the latest Baseball Tonight Podcast, Maddon told ESPN’s Buster Olney he has yet to rewatch Game 7 of the ’16 Fall Classic all the way through. However, the now-Angels manager already is envisioning when that moment will ultimately come.

“It’s one of those things that I think when I’m done, totally done (retired)…when I get settled in and I’m hanging out in Pennsylvania somewhere,” Maddon said, “I’ll get this 95-inch television by that time, with the great surround system. 

“I’ll pop it up there and sit there with a really good glass of red [wine], some kind of delicacy from a local hoagie shop and watch the whole thing.”

Sounds like a plan, Joe. Let us know how your viewing goes.

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Javier Báez catches for Twins' starter José Berríos, looks like a natural

Javier Báez catches for Twins' starter José Berríos, looks like a natural

You gotta think wherever Javier Báez plays on defense, he’s going to succeed. The Cubs infielder has emerged as one of the best shortstops in the game, but we’ve seen him flash the leather at second and third base time and time again.

Heck, if the Cubs put Báez in the outfield, it’d be unwise to bet against his ability to succeed. Based on one video, the same can probably be said about El Mago behind the plate.

MLB Puerto Rico tweeted a video Monday of Báez catching for Twins All-Star starter José Berríos, his brother-in-law. Unsurprisingly, Báez — who played catcher in high school — looks like a natural.

Báez has never caught a big league game, but he was the Cubs’ emergency catcher in 2016 when Kyle Schwarber was sidelined with a knee injury.

The Cubs will never put Báez behind the dish due to the risk of injury, and there's a lot more to the position than catching and throwing. Still, it sure would be fun to see how he’d look back there.

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