Cubs' Soriano hopes for quick return

Cubs' Soriano hopes for quick return

CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano has said all along he wants to return from a broken bone in his left hand in fewer than the estimated six weeks, and his manager is backing him up.

"I would think, just looking at it, it won't be six weeks," Lou Piniella said on Wednesday. "If we get him back right after the All-Star break, I think we'd feel really good about it."

Soriano suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch in the second inning of a June 11 win against the Braves. The original six-week prognosis had him out until a week after the All-Star Game.

"He heals really quick," Piniella said. "I don't want to sound overly optimistic. But I'll tell you this, if there's anybody that can do it, he's shown that he can. This is a broken bone as opposed to being muscular, but he's coming along fine."

Soriano had a throwing session before Tuesday's game but did not catch. He will undergo a second X-ray checkup Friday to make sure the recovery is progressing well. He is itching to pick up a bat again.

"If they say my hand is good on Friday, [then] maybe Saturday or Sunday or Monday, start swinging the bat," Soriano said. "Maybe 10 swings, 20 swings, just to do something with my hands."

Soriano is targeting a return before the All-Star Game. He repeated a motivation to play in the Midsummer Classic at Yankee Stadium, his home ballpark from 1999-2003.

"If he's going to be ready afterward, [playing in] the All-Star Game would be fine, too," said Piniella, who added that Soriano will need a Minor League rehab assignment. "Now, if we're going to have to rush him to get him back for the All-Star Game, that's a different story."

Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.