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Sveum says Soriano doesnt need the big stick

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Sveum says Soriano doesnt need the big stick

MILWAUKEE Maybe Alfonso Soriano connects and goes off on one of those hot streaks where he carries the Cubs offense.

But its the middle of May and the 136 million man still hasnt hit a home run yet.

The fact of the matter is fastballs are getting too deep, manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. Whatever it is, its just a strange phenomenon right now that Edwin Maysonet has more home runs than Alfonso Soriano.

Maysonet, a Milwaukee Brewers utility guy, got his first one in Saturdays win over the Cubs. (Sveum said that Chris Volstad who gave up that grand slam and has a 6.92 ERA will make his next start and keep a spot in the rotation for now.) Outside of Bryan LaHair, the Cubs havent seen many big moments like that.

Thats tough to swallow, Sveum said. We got to get some two- and three-run home runs out of that position. Theres no question about it. Were having trouble sustaining innings.

Soriano woke up on Sunday hitting .250 with 15 RBI and a .284 on-base percentage. Sveum, an old hitting coach, has suggested using a different bat.

Soriano has been open to the idea and made some changes. But Sveum said Soriano just didnt go as far as I wanted.

Theres no question Id like to see a much lighter bat, Sveum said. He has adjusted a little bit, but I think a really smaller, lighter bat would help a lot.

Soriano is among the teams hardest workers, and one of the more popular players in the clubhouse. He does not have a reputation of being difficult to deal with.

Its one of those things where you can tell a guy to use a really small, light bat Sveum said. The physics alone it makes sense.

Youre talking a few ounces two, three ounces and I think a shorter bat only makes sense to help out. Theres no question.

Maybe it will all even out for Soriano by the end of the year. Albert Pujols and David Ortiz are the only two other players with 10-straight 20-homer seasons through 2011.

The power outage in Southern California became a national story. It took Pujols until May 6 before he hit his first home run for the Los Angeles Angels.

Soriano is 36 years old and likes swinging the big bat. Its worked for most of his career. Hes watched his 340 homers fly in the big leagues. His manager understands the dynamics.

Its very hard to do, Sveum said. Its almost like a (mechanical thing). Its hard to change your mechanics. Its hard to change something thats felt so comfortable.

Sometimes when you take a 35-, 35-and-a-half-inch bat, and you make it 34, (it) looks like its 31 inches, (just) so much smaller. Those things are harder to get over than people think.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.