The numbers have been big for Alfonso Soriano lately. He hit a pair of home runs in Tuesday night's 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field.
He hit solo homers in the first and seventh innings, giving him 15 for the season and 8 in his last 11 games.
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As huge as the numbers have been, manager Dale Sveum seems just as impressed with Soriano's work ethic and approach.
"I can go on and on about the assets Sori has about his work ethic and caring about winning," Sveum said. "Obviously, he's closing in on 400 home runs. Obviously, he's had one heck of a career up to this point.
"But you can't take anything away from his character and what he means to some of the younger players. It's pretty special to have a guy like that around on the team."
This is nothing new. Soriano heads to the outfield batting cages about a half-hour before every game.
"That's what I like to do," he said after the game. "I love working hard to win and make myself a better hitter and a better player."
It's a start:
When Anthony Rizzo homered for the Cubs in the first inning Tuesday night against the Angels, it was his 13th of the year but his first since June 23.
It has been a rough few weeks for Rizzo, who batted .231 with 2 homers in June and entered Tuesday 2-for-26 in July.
"He's had some trouble getting back to where we saw him last year and obviously in Triple-A and using his hands," manager Dale Sveum said. "There's a lot of body involved in his swing right now that we're trying to get squared away and get him back to using his hands and not so much body."
Right-handed pitcher Scott Baker threw his fourth simulated game Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz. Baker, whom the Cubs signed as a free agent last off-season, had Tommy John surgery April 17, 2012, while with the Minnesota Twins.
Baker suffered a setback in spring training with the Cubs and has had to work his way back. He may be able to start a minor-league rehab assignment soon. If all goes well, he could join the active roster sometime in August.
Outfielder Brian Bogusevic (left hamstring) could be ready to start by Thursday's series opener against St. Louis.
Catcher Welington Castillo, who came up ill before Monday's game against the White Sox, was feeling better Tuesday, but he did not start. Castillo had flu-like symptoms, and he said he was dehydrated.