Soriano switches to a lighter bat

Soriano switches to a lighter bat

Soriano switches to a lighter bat
MILWAUKEE -- Alfonso Soriano has switched to a lighter bat in hopes of ending what is the longest home run drought to start a season in his career.

The Cubs left fielder, who has averaged nearly 32 home runs the last 10 seasons, hasn't hit one over a fence in 112 at-bats. He's had longer homer-less stretches -- 184 at-bats in 2001, for example -- but this is the longest to open a season.

"Edwin Maysonet has more home runs than Alfonso Soriano right now -- that's tough to swallow," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Brewers' second baseman, who has one homer, and two in his career. "We have to get some two- and three-run home runs out of that position, no question about it. We're having trouble sustaining innings enough."

Soriano led the Cubs with six home runs this spring and is healthy, except for his left knee, which is a little tender. One suggestion Sveum and others have made is to try and get the veteran to switch to a lighter bat, which he did about two weeks ago.

"There's no question I'd like to see a much lighter bat," Sveum said on Sunday. "He has adjusted a little bit but a smaller, lighter bat would help a lot."

Soriano said he can tell the difference.

"It makes sense," Soriano said. "I feel more comfortable. I can get the bat through the zone more quickly.

"I've been using the bat for the last two weeks. Sometimes in this game you're feeling good, sometimes you're feeling bad. I think I found my swing today and I hope I can keep it the rest of the season."

On Sunday, he was 1-for-4 with an RBI double in the eighth.

Sveum said hitters can tell when the change is very slight.

"You're talking a few ounces -- two, three ounces," Sveum said. "A shorter bat only makes sense to help out, no question.

"It's almost like mechanics. It's hard to change mechanics and hard to change something that has felt so comfortable to you. Sometimes when you get to a 35 1/2-inch bat and make it 34, just looking at it, it looks like it's 31 inches, it's so much smaller looking. Those are harder things to get over than people think."