Extra bases

Extra bases

• Jeff Samardzija played catch Sunday, the day after a tough outing against the Twins in which he gave up a season-high eight runs.

There were some issues with his mechanics, Sveum said, and Samardzija seemed to be trying to "bully his way through the lineup."

Of course, that also could have something to do with the Cubs overall recent struggles.

"I think everybody is trying to do too much, whether it's Samardzija on the mound or whoever," Sveum said. "When he was pitching in Spring Training, he was down in the strike zone, his head wasn't flying off to first base side. Now he's losing a little bit of concentration and the ball is going to get up and you're not going to have command."

• One of the recent bright spots has been Soriano, who was 11-for-34 in the last nine games with 11 RBI, five homers and two doubles.

"He works so hard in the cage and watches video and he wants to play every day," Jaramillo said. "I've told him how professional he is and how proud of him I am of the way he goes about it. He's a great example for the younger guys. You couldn't ask for any more about the way he goes about his work. Now he's getting results and it's paying off for him."

Soriano does have a tender left knee, but he has been feeling better since doing some exercises and no longer wears a brace on his knee. Switching to a lighter bat also has helped his swing.

"It definitely doesn't hurt," Sveum said.