Timing adjustment has clicked for Soriano

Timing adjustment has clicked for Soriano

PHOENIX -- Last spring, Alfonso Soriano hit three home runs in 21 Cactus League games. This year, he has three in four games.

What's the difference? Watch his at-bats. Soriano still uses a leg kick as a timing device but it's not as high a step.

"I just thought it would help my timing," the Cubs left fielder said Saturday. "Sometimes I do it too high and have less timing. Now I try to feel more comfortable at home plate."

It looks like it's working. In 2010, he also got off to a slow start and hit two home runs in 21 spring games. So far this year, he's 6-for-11 with all but one of his hits going for extra bases.

No one suggested the change. Soriano tested it in January while working out at the Cubs' academy in the Dominican Republic.

"It's something I worked on in the Dominican to see how I feel," Soriano said. "I did feel good. I had a big leg kick, now I have a little one. I started working on it and I've been more consistent doing it.

"What's more important for me is that before, I needed 10 games to start feeling good, but right away, the first two games, I started feeling good," he said. "I think I've found something in my swing and my mechanics that helps me a lot."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the change should help Soriano because there will be less moving parts to his swing.

"I have a big bat and a big leg kick," Soriano said. "That's less time that I have to time the ball. I think if I eliminate some of the movement, my timing is better."

Soriano will likely bat fourth or fifth in the lineup this year, Sveum said Saturday.

"I know I scared you guys a little bit, putting him in the leadoff spot, but that was goofing around with lineups and getting guys at-bats real quick," Sveum said.

So, who will be the Cubs' leadoff man? David DeJesus.

"He's really our only bona fide on-base guy who obviously can hit, and he hits left-handed," Sveum said. "He brings all the intangibles that nobody else in the lineup brings to the table."