Alfonso Soriano continues to confound and amaze. Derek Zumsteg of Baseball Prospectus admits he doesn't know how he would approach pitching our favorite Martian:
Seeing him take inside pitches and turn on them with those whip-fast hands, I honestly have no idea how I'd pitch to him. I keep thinking of Ball Four: smoke in on the hands. I think I'd ride him way inside on the hands, out of the strike zone, and see--and I know how bad this sounds--if you can either tie him up or hit him for a strike either way, because I haven't seen him bail out on that pitch.
Filip Bondy has a nice little puff piece on him in the Daily News today. When Soriano connected off of Seattle's impressive right-hander Joel Pinero in the sixth:
Soriano hesitated a moment at the plate, then rounded the bases. He can never get all the way back home without breaking out in a smile, because this game is so much fun, because there is always a teammate waiting to congratulate him, and because somehow it always feels like the first time for Soriano.
...There is nobody else in New York, and maybe nobody in baseball right now, who plays with this sort of joy and elan. Not Bernie Williams. Not Derek Jeter, even when he's healthy.
..."I'm waiting for the pitching more," Soriano said. "They no throw my pitch, and it's important to be on base for me. I try to be more patient."
The kid hasn't let success go to his head. As Kevin Kernan reports in the Post today:
All the players appreciate [manager, Joe] Torre, but no one appreciates him more than Soriano, who has become the best player in the game under Torre.
"He has allowed me to grow, he's been so patient," Soriano said of Torre. "If I make a mistake he doesn't get on me. He's been like a father to me. He is the perfect manager."
Speaking of Joe, regardless of the constant mishegas with the Boss, Torre isn't leaving anytime soon.