Grading Alfonso Soriano's Return to the New York Yankees
Alfonso Soriano made his return to New York Friday, as he played for the Yankees for the first time since 2003.
After being traded from the Chicago Cubs, Soriano received a hero's welcome at Yankee Stadium. Fans were hysterical that he found his way back to The Bronx almost a decade after he left, and they let him know with this ovation.
Soriano wasn't just greeted by fans, however, as GM Brian Cashman had only good things to say about him during a press conference in which he addressed the acquisition of the veteran outfielder.
The team desperately needed a right-handed power hitter like Soriano, as he has been knocking the ball out of the park more than the entire Yankees team as of late.
THIS JUST IN: Alfonso Soriano is officially a Yankee again. Soriano has hit eight home runs in July. The Yankees have hit seven.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 26, 2013
The Yankees were sure glad that Soriano brought his bat back to New York, and Derek Jeter was among Soriano's former teammates to welcome him back.
Reunited! The Captain and Soriano hug it out. pic.twitter.com/3DE9STf6v5— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 26, 2013
Soriano would play left field and bat cleanup for the Yanks in his 2013 debut with the team. It was the first time he ever started in the cleanup spot for the team, which shows how badly New York needed a power hitter.
It was an emotional return for Soriano, but the team didn't bring him back merely to appease the fans, so let's check out how he performed on the field.
The good news is that Soriano made contact and put the ball in play in all five of his at-bats on Friday.
The bad news is that it was never solid contact, and he didn't record a hit because of it.
Soriano flew out to right and center field, and he grounded out three times. He did reach first base on a fielder's choice in the eighth inning and came around to score, but he didn't record a hit. He also grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the ninth, beating out the throw to avoid ending the game, but also hurting the rally.
While he didn't strike out, Soriano didn't find any holes in the defense, which is why his grade is lower than Yankees fans were hoping for.
Soriano was brought in for his power, but he failed to show it off on Friday.
On his two flyouts, Soriano didn't exactly rouse the crowd by hitting it to the warning track, instead hitting two nondescript fly balls that were easily caught.
Even worse were his groundouts, which were not sharp by any means and didn't have a chance to leave the infield.
We're still waiting to see Soriano get ahold of a pitch, and when he does, we'll see his power at work.
Soriano was as close to perfect in the field as it's physically possible to be.
Not only did Soriano make every routine play and play the ball off the wall well, but he made a pair of spectacular plays as well.
Soriano made a fantastic grab in foul territory in left field, and he also threw out Wil Myers, who was trying to extend a single to a double.
Soriano impressed with both his arm and his glove, and he was as good a fielding left fielder as anyone on Friday.
While Soriano's performance at the plate was abysmal, that doesn't completely define his game.
He made his mark on the field, and while it would've been nice to see him get his first hit as a Yankee in 2013, this critique can't be based solely on his struggles at the plate.
Soriano was still an improvement over Vernon Wells in the field, and his batting prowess will be sure to follow.
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