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New Chicago Cubs Manager Dale Sveum Could Hit Alfonso Soriano In The Cleanup Spot

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If nothing else, new Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum has flexibility with his lineup. Gone are former middle-of-the-order stalwarts Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee; in their place is a group castoffs and young players, the exact type of hitters that are the most difficult to project in spring training.

Because of all that, Sveum said today that he is contemplating hitting outfielder Alfonso Soriano in No. 4 hole. Sveum wants to give new first baseman Brendan LaHair the opportunity to grab the spot, but says Soriano, a once-proud veteran slugger, is also an option.

Soriano sounds flatter that he's being considered for the cleanup spot, perhaps discouraging so for a player working his way though an 8-year, $136 million contract.

"Wow," Soriano said upon hearing Sveum's cleanup plan. "I'm ready for anything. I don't want to put pressure on myself. I want to stay healthy and do my job. If he put me batting fourth it's the same as batting seventh. I batted seventh last year. The goal is to stay healthy. That's my goal."

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