Cubs manager Lou Piniella, on Alfonso Soriano’s chances of coming back from a knee injury to play again this season:
He’s going to go see his own doctor to get a second opinion on this thing. We’ll probably know something in the next few days. I would categorize it as doubtful that he’d return. Doubtful. I would think that if he has the procedure done before the end of the year it would be just to clean it out a little bit.
The “procedure” is arthroscopic knee surgery, which Soriano will eventually need whether he plays again this season or not.
He’s hit just .241/.303/.423 when healthy enough to be in the lineup, Chicago is 11.5 games back in the NL Central and 8.5 games back in the Wild Card at 71-67, and Soriano is owed $18 million for each of the next five seasons as part of an eight-year, $136 million contract signed in November of 2006.
In other words, getting him back in the lineup this season is the least of the Cubs’ worries at this point. And if you think Cubs fans have been disappointed with Soriano this season, try to imagine what things will be like come 2014, when he’ll be 38 years old and making $18 million. As a wise man once said, “Yeesh.”
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.