Soriano back at leadoff spot for good
Piniella concludes experiment of batting slugger third
ST. LOUIS -- Alfonso Soriano was back in the leadoff spot on Sunday for the Cubs and that's where he'll stay, manager Lou Piniella said.
Soriano was dropped to third on Friday for the first game of the Cubs' series against St. Louis, and went 1-for-8 in two games with three strikeouts on Saturday. The Cubs lost both games with Soriano batting third, so he's back on top.
"We said we'd try it and we did," Piniella said Sunday.
At the start of last season, Soriano batted second for the first two games of the season, and was moved back into the leadoff spot to stay after that. That's where he's been most productive.
"We'll just put him in the leadoff spot," Piniella said of the left fielder, who has a career .294 average batting first. "That's where he feels comfortable and that's where we'll leave him."
Soriano just smiled when told the lineup had been switched on Sunday.
"I think he likes to try some things," Soriano said. "If it works, it stays. If it doesn't work, it's back to normal."
For Soriano, leading off is normal. He had asked this spring that if he was going to be moved to stay in one spot.
"I want to do the best for the team, but back and forth, I don't think is the best," Soriano said. "If he wants to try something out, then stay for the season. It's very tough and difficult to play this game and when you move around, it's more difficult. The moves he makes, I have to do what he says, because he's the manager."
Soriano didn't notice any difference in approach by pitchers the last two days with him in the No. 3 spot.
"I have to make adjustments because they don't want to throw me strikes," he said. "If they throw a strike, they know I can hit the ball hard."
Soriano has a career .125 average batting second, .258 in the third hole, .195 hitting fourth, and .268 hitting fifth. Leadoff suits him just fine.
"The most important thing is we get the win today," Soriano said. "It doesn't matter if I'm batting first or batting third."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.