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updated: 6/7/2012 8:35 PM

Banged-up Soriano will get chance to DH

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  • Milwaukee Brewers' Norichika Aoki hits a walk off home run off Chicago Cubs' Casey Coleman in the 10th inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Milwaukee.

      Milwaukee Brewers' Norichika Aoki hits a walk off home run off Chicago Cubs' Casey Coleman in the 10th inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Milwaukee.
    Associated Press

 
 

MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs will get their first look at Target Field this weekend as they resume interleague play against the Minnesota Twins.

"It's a fantastic stadium," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the ballpark in Minneapolis. "It's probably one of the best venues there is as far as atmosphere. They built a unique stadium. It plays a little big sometimes, but when the weather is warm, it plays a lot different."

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Because they'll be playing by American League rules, the Cubs will be able to use the designated hitter. Sveum will move Alfonso Soriano and his sore left knee from left field to the DH spot.

"It's coming right at the right time," Sveum said. "I've been playing him every day. He's that one threat in our lineup, and it's hard to give him days off at all. To his credit, he doesn't want any days off, and he doesn't take days off from work. You have to give him a lot of credit for that."

Despite the bad leg, Soriano has played in 52 of the Cubs' 57 games. He is second on the club with 9 homers, all since May 15. The knee seems to bother him most when he chases down hits in left field, where he has a hard time stopping and planting the leg.

"He's not taking any days off in the outfield and working," Sveum said. "That's the most impressive thing of all.

"You've probably got as much admiration for somebody that you come across in a career to see how he works on and off the field. He tries to make himself a better outfielder every day. I have tons of admiration for Soriano. He's been far and above anything I expected."

Trying to catch on:

Injured Cubs catchers Geovany Soto (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Welington Castillo (knee sprain) are coming along more slowly than the Cubs had hoped.

Soto is not ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment, and he'll accompany the team to Minnesota to continue working out. Castillo is ready to rehab. After Thursday's game in Milwaukee, he left for a rehab stint at Class AA Tennessee.

"They're still struggling a little bit on blocking," Sveum said of blocking baseballs in the dirt. "We're probably going to have to wait through this road trip and get them a little bit of work. Everything seems to be right on schedule except pushing off to their left to block balls."

Fighting words:

Brewers leadoff man Norichika Aoki hit a solo homer off Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza in the fourth inning and a walk-off game-winner against Casey Coleman in the 10th.

"He got backspin on it," Garza said. "I thought I made a good pitch. He put a good swing on it. You just tip your cap. He had one (heck) of a game. His day. You tip your cap, and the next time you face him, you go right back in there and shove it down his throat and make sure he doesn't like trying to sit and spin on stuff anymore."

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