The Associated Press reports the Chicago Cubs have placed outfielder Alfonso Soriano (calf) on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Soriano will probably be out for "a while," which doesn't sound like good news for Cubs fans or Soriano owners. He was most likely taken in the second round in many drafts because of his combination of power and speed. However, Soriano has started off slowly this season, batting only .175 with two home runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases. During spring training, he suffered a fractured finger but was able to come back from the injury.
He was able to put up good numbers in his first season with the Cubs, finishing the season with a .299 batting average with 33 home runs, 70 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. He played in 135 games after being slowed by hamstring and quadriceps injuries; the same injuries were nagging him before this season. Prior to last season, Soriano had been relatively healthy during his career. He played in at least 155 games in five of his last seven seasons entering 2008.
From a fantasy perspective, the injury to Soriano has the potential to be a devastating blow to an owner's season. It is not known how severe the injury is, so he could be back in two weeks or he could miss several more weeks because of the calf injury. For now, owners should put him on their disabled list and keep a close eye on his prognosis and rehab in the upcoming weeks.
One option to take Soriano's spot in the field is utility player Eric Patterson, who has shown his versatility by playing in both the infield and outfield at Triple-A Iowa this season. He is currently hitting .222 with one home run and three RBIs this season after nearly making the club out of spring training. He is worthy of a pickup in NL-only leagues.
Another possibility is that the Cubs use second baseman Mark DeRosa in the outfield while Soriano is on the shelf. Like Patterson, the versatile DeRosa has played in the outfield before and could be used as a fill-in. He will be starting in left field for the Cubs Wednesday, April 16. If DeRosa is available, he also would be a serviceable target because he has already registered significant playing time this year.
Outfielder Matt Murton is still lurking in the minors, as well, after nearly making the club out of spring ball. He hit .281 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 235 at-bats last season; he's batting .294 at Iowa so far this year.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
Don't miss these great reports....