Cubs falls to Reds 6-5 in 11 innings
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org September 19, 2012 11:35PM
Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano trots around the bases after hitting his 30th home run of the season Wednesday. | David Banks~Getty Images
Updated: October 21, 2012 3:02PM
Imagine the odds you could have gotten a year ago betting the Cubs’ relationship with Alfonso Soriano would last longer than their relationship with the Peoria Chiefs.
Probably not quite as good as the odds in mid-May that Soriano would go from 0 to 30 homers in 18 weeks.
But here he is on Sept. 20, the offensive bright light in this dimmest of Cubs seasons, a two-time long-shot winner already this year who might have one more long shot left in him.
Does he stick in a Cubs’ uniform through the final two years of that lightning-rod, $136 million deal?
Let it ride.
‘‘I think so,’’ said Soriano, whose 30th homer of the season cleared the left-field bleachers in the sixth inning during the Cubs’ rally to tie the Cincinnati Reds before they fell 6-5 in 11 innings. ‘‘But it’s 50-50. It depends on them, and depends on me, too.’’
The new front office already tried to trade him — without much market demand early and without Soriano’s willingness to waive no-trade rights in July for a deal to San Francisco.
‘‘Sometimes it’s very difficult to both get on the same page,’’ said Soriano, who has $36 million left over the final two years of his deal.
He also has the only significant power numbers in the Cubs’ lineup — and some of the most impressive run-production numbers in the National League, including 103 RBI (one short of a career high).
‘‘He’s had one of the more productive years in all of baseball this year. In our league it’s basically just Ryan Braun and Soriano that have had the more productive seasons,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘He’s still under contract, so he’s going to be in the middle of our lineup next year.’’
Perhaps regardless of the intentions of the front office.
Soriano said he has no strong desire to go anywhere else, even though he knows a trade could mean a chance at a ring and that staying could mean no chance.
‘‘Yeah, but at the same time, it has to be a very comfortable place for me,’’ he said. ‘‘Not only like a contender, but I also want to feel comfortable with the team, with the city, all that kind of stuff.’’
He’s not ruling anything out.
Even with ongoing rebuilding, ‘‘there’s a lot of good things here and a very good city,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ll see what happens in the off-season and go from there.’’
Reds manager Dusty Baker remained at Northwestern Memorial Hospital overnight for observation and further testing after tests Wednesday revealed an irregular heartbeat, Reds officials said.
The 63-year-old former Cubs manager is not expected to return to the team for Thursday’s series finale. A spokesman said Baker reported feeling fine after the game and he expects to rejoin the team Friday in Cincinnati.
Baker left the ballpark about two hours before the game to have X-rays in an effort to rule out pneumonia, the Reds said, after being checked by the Cubs’ team doctor for a persistent cough.
Team officials indicated Baker has had some history of irregular heartbeat.
Bench coach Chris Speier, a former Cubs coach, filled in for Baker Wednesday night.