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Dale Sveum wants Alfonso Soriano to use a smaller bat

May 13, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Alfonso Soriano AP

Alfonso Soriano‘s bat isn’t in the best shape of its life. Manager Dale Sveum thinks it needs to lose a few ounces.

“The fact of the matter is fastballs are getting too deep,” manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “Whatever it is, it’s just a strange phenomenon right now that Edwin Maysonet has more home runs than Alfonso Soriano.”

Soriano has yet to homer this season. He’s hitting .250 with 16 RBI in 112 at-bats.

Sveum, a former hitting coach, has been working with Soriano in the hopes of adding more power to his stroke. As he told CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney:

“There’s no question I’d like to see a much lighter bat,” Sveum said. “He has adjusted a little bit, but I think a really smaller, lighter bat would help a lot.”

Soriano has always used one of the game’s heaviest bats, even though he’s far from one of the league’s biggest guys. Now 36, it probably is time for him to change it up a bit. However, pride may be getting in the way.

  1. hammyofdoom - May 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    I’ve thought about this before not just with Soriano but other aging sluggers in general. So many of them use heavy bats, but increasing bat speed with a lighter bat would give the same amount of power that a slower, heavier bat would but he’d be able actually swing that damn thing as he gets older. Even Ted Williams spoke about bat speed over bat weight. However I’m just a schmuck watching the game through a TV, maybe switching the weight of an implement he’s used for about two decades would screw’im up, but it couldn’t really hurt much could it? The dude’s batting .250 with zero power

    • ptfu - May 13, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      If Soriano’s not willing to use a lighter bat yet, maybe Sveum could get him to choke up in the interim. That should help and it will show Soriano a hint of what a smaller lighter bat could do.

      Another option might be for Sveum to somehow talk Soriano into borrowing someone else’s (lighter) bat for a week. Baby steps to preserve an aging slugger’s pride.

      • hammyofdoom - May 14, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        We’ll have to see, but at this point I don’t think he has a choice. I suddenly had a flashback to Doug Mirabelli using David Ortiz’s bat for one at bat and having to go on the DL after, sprained his wrist haha.

    • baseballisboring - May 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM

      I’ve thought of that too, but I’m sure a lot of coaches/players have also thought of it. I feel like it’d be something you saw more commonly if it didn’t mess with your timing or something.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM

      So many of them use heavy bats, but increasing bat speed with a lighter bat would give the same amount of power that a slower, heavier bat would

      Not necessarily. Force = mass x acceleration, so in order to generate the same amount of force using a lighter bat, the % decrease in mass would have to be inversely proportional to the % increase in acceleration.

      • ezthinking - May 14, 2012 at 1:17 AM

        The mass isn’t just the bat but also the person it’s attached too.

      • sophiethegreatdane - May 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        F= ma is kind of the point of the article, no? If Soriano starts using a lighter bat, he will be able to accelerate it faster through the strike zone, not allowing pitches to get as deep as Dale Sveum thinks they are. The faster acceleration will result in the same force being applied to the ball.

        Or the other way to look at it is, Soriano can only apply a certain amount of force to the bat. It appears to me that Sveum is saying he’s getting older, and maybe he’s not strong enough to accelerate the mass of the bat through the strike zone in time to hit fastballs effectively. If Alfsonso swings a lighter bat with the same force that he applies to a heavier bat, it will accelerate faster.

        Two ways to look at the system, I suppose: from the bat’s perspective, or the batter’s perspective.

    • toozie21 - May 14, 2012 at 5:22 AM

      I think these is also an aspect of bat-to-weight ratio at play. Isn’t there a rule that ties bat length and weight together? If so, he may not be willing to give up a few inches (I know my wife wouldn’t like it if I did)!

  2. deadeyedesign23 - May 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    God I can’t believe there are still 3 years left on that deal. This is what happens when you go all in and lose.

    • gmsingh - May 14, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      Cheap compared to Pujols.

  3. cerowb - May 14, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    If Alfonso Soriano homers today, he’ll be on pace to hit 5 home runs this season. Only about $50 million more to go before he goes away…

  4. gmsingh - May 14, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    In related news Sveum went to the pound and asked for the oldest dog they had so he could teach him new tricks.

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