MINNEAPOLIS -- Alfonso Soriano is not a big fan of the designated hitter, but that's his role for the Cubs' three Interleague games against the Twins. He seemed OK with it in the first inning on Friday, hitting his 10th homer of the season, and No. 350 of his career, 431 feet to straightaway center field.
"I love to play -- [the designated hitter] is a part-time job," Soriano said. "I have to put in my mind that I'm playing, but I'm sitting on the bench."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum wanted to give Soriano some days off because of a tender left knee, but still keep his bat in the lineup. Soriano did not hit a home run in his first 30 games and has 10 in his last 23. Overall, he was batting .282 since May 15, entering Friday's game.
Sveum has played with and coached some of the best designated hitters in the game, including David Ortiz and Paul Molitor, and he knows not many hitters like the role.
"It's something [where] you have to get accustomed to the process and stay loose and not dwell on your at-bat for eight other hitters on the bench," Sveum said. "[Target Field] is a nice place because we have a cage right there [near the dugout] and you can stay loose. In our park, it would be difficult to stay loose."
Soriano liked the setup at Target Field, but said he wouldn't mind being the DH against the White Sox next week at U.S. Cellular Field. That's because he won't have to make the long run from the visitor's dugout to left field.
"I like to be close to my dugout -- [Wrigley Field] is perfect," Soriano said.
Soriano's knee has been a problem since late April, but the Cubs' athletic trainers have come up with exercises for Soriano that have helped. He may need arthroscopic surgery in the offseason, but there's a lot of time before he has to make that decision.