Alfonso Soriano poses during Chicago Cubs photo day in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Hey, American League teams! Did you see what happened today in Mesa?
Alfonso Soriano was the Cubs' DH. And he hit a home run off the scoreboard. He later homered a second time and hit a double, drove in three runs, and scored three runs.
I'm not a big fan of the DH, but as I have written at Baseball Nation, I think it's inevitably going to come to the National League, especially with the realignment next season forcing year-round interleague play. With the Cubs' luck, it'll happen in 2015, right after Soriano's contract is up. (The Astros, who are moving to the AL next year, have the same luck: they have an ideal DH in Carlos Lee, but his deal is up at the end of this year.)
In the meantime, AL teams, hope your scouts were taking notes this afternoon during the Cubs' 11-4 win over the Rockies, their first win of the spring. Soriano can hit, as long as he doesn't have to play the field.
Matt Garza's first outing of the spring wasn't that great -- two runs allowed in two innings -- but it was better than his first appearance of last spring, when he gave up five runs in a two-inning appearance. Casey Coleman threw a pair of scoreless innings, in his effort to make the 2012 bullpen (I think we can assume Coleman is not really in the fifth-starter mix).
James Russell was touched by Dexter Fowler for a home run in his only inning of work; had I been in my usual spot on the left field lawn, I might have had a shot at both Fowler's and Soriano's home runs, as Fowler's also bounced off the scoreboard. Brett Jackson also homered this afternoon, a three-run shot that gave the Cubs the lead to stay in a four-run third inning. Granted, the wind was blowing out pretty strong today, but you can't discount home runs that hit the scoreboard, which is probably about a 430-foot shot.
Other Cubs who had good days were Anthony Rizzo and Welington Castillo, who had two hits each. Our old buddy Tyler Colvin, playing left field for the Rox today, singled and tripled and drove in a run.
Attendance watch: 6,415 today, 22,590 for the first three dates (7,530 average), which is probably a little bit low given the perfect weather. It's supposed to be cooler Wednesday, when the Cubs will play their first road game of the spring, against the Royals at Surprise. Jeff Samardzija will start. Whether that means he's actually in the running for the rotation or whether Dale Sveum wants to stretch him out is something I don't think Sveum is going to tell us, or let on to other teams. Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, Jeff Beliveau and Marcos Mateo should get some time tomorrow.