Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, distraught over his shaky defense and a routine fly ball he dropped in Saturday’s loss to the Astros, has promised to eliminate the hop that accompanies every ball he catches.
Soriano received both boos and cheers from the Wrigley Field faithful, who obviously disliked his defensive lapse but welcomed his 2-for-4 effort at the plate.
"No, not hop," Soriano told the Chicago Tribune. "Just more concentration when I catch the ball and not do the hop. Sometimes when (I hop) I move my head. So I have to get routine fly balls, I have to make those plays."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella endorses his decision to stop the hop, a habit that has no redeeming value.
"We’ve talked about that in the past. All it can do is make your head bob and your eyes move and the ball flutter," Piniella told the paper. "It’s like catching a knuckleball. So if you can keep stable and catch it conventionally, I think it will help him, I really do."
But Piniella also said he’s more concerned about Soriano’s offense than his defense.
"We need Soriano to swing the bat, that’s the whole key," he told the paper. "We know he’s not going to win the Gold Glove in the outfield. Make the routine plays and swing the bat and we’re very, very happy."