Soriano, Fenway might not fit
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 19, 2011 9:08PM
The Cubs' Carlos Pena slides into second for a double on a late throw to Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the second inning Thursday night. | J. PAT CARTER~AP
Updated: June 22, 2011 7:24PM
MIAMI — The Cubs plan to spend a lot of pregame practice time today trying to keep from being devoured by the Green Monster on their first trip to Boston’s Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.
What that means for glove-challenged left fielder Alfonso Soriano might not be clear until manager Mike Quade walks the outfield before finalizing his lineup for the opener of a hyped interleague series between the Cubs and the Red Sox. The designated-hitter spot looms large for Soriano.
On the other hand, ‘‘Left field’s the easy one,’’ said outfielder Reed Johnson, who has more time in Fenway’s left field than any other Cub after spending the first five seasons of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays. ‘‘You really have to guard the big part of the field. You have to guard left-center and center field.’’
Soriano, who spent five years with the New York Yankees as an infielder, played three games in left field at Fenway for the Washington Nationals in 2006, committing one error in four total chances — that’s right, a .750 fielding percentage.
‘‘Sometimes I wonder if we make too much of that,’’ Quade said. ‘‘The fact is, there’s not a lot of ground to cover there as long as you understand having to play the carom on a hard-hit ball. . . . I’ll weigh that [today].’’
Within 22 hours, Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd went from a streak of five consecutive strikeouts to hitting key home runs in back-to-back games in a series sweep. He has three hits in his last five at-bats (including a double) as the Cubs head to Fenway Park, where he’s a career .378 hitter. “I don’t stop working, and we’ve got the best hitting coach in the game,’’ Byrd said. “I knew at some point I’m going to start hitting.’’
◆ Quade’s final word on Wednesday night’s streaker at Sun Life Stadium: ‘‘I felt bad for the security guards. One, for having to deal with idiots, and, two, for having to deal with naked idiots.’’