07/25/12 1:11 PM ET
One homer shy of No. 20, Soriano gets day off
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The Cubs outfielder hit No. 19 on Tuesday, and with one more swing, he will join the Red Sox's David Ortiz as the only sluggers to record 11 consecutive 20-home run seasons, including this year. Albert Pujols needs two home runs to reach 20.
When Soriano gets to 20, he will join Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more home runs in each of their first six seasons as a Cub.
Soriano was given Wednesday off, which will equate to two days of rest, including Thursday's off-day. A little rest and a shift to a lighter bat seem to have made a difference. Soriano did not hit a homer in the first 30 games, but since May 15, he has 19, tied for the most in the NL with the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.
Is the difference the bat?
"He only went down half an ounce," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I haven't talked to him about it. He might have gone back up, for all I know. All I know is since that day, he's been one of the more productive players in all of Major League Baseball."
Pitcher Randy Wells underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday in Chicago and is likely done for the season. Wells, 29, had been pitching at Triple-A Iowa, and lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his last start July 14 against Omaha. He was placed on the disabled list shortly after that with soreness in his right elbow. In nine games with Iowa, Wells was 3-3 with a 7.89 ERA.
A 12-game winner in 2009 with the Cubs, Wells had a good spring but didn't make the Opening Day rotation. He was called up April 21, and made two starts for Matt Garza, who was ill, then was sent back to Iowa on May 3. He rejoined the Cubs on May 19 and pitched out of the bullpen, except for two starts June 20 and June 26. Wells was designated for assignment on June 27 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jorge Soler.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.