MINNEAPOLIS -- Alfonso Soriano is not a big fan of the designated hitter, but that's his role for the Cubs' three Interleague games against the Twins. He seemed OK with it in the first inning on Friday, hitting his 10th homer of the season, and No. 350 of his career, 431 feet to straightaway center field.
"I love to play -- [the designated hitter] is a part-time job," Soriano said. "I have to put in my mind that I'm playing, but I'm sitting on the bench."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum wanted to give Soriano some days off because of a tender left knee, but still keep his bat in the lineup. Soriano did not hit a home run in his first 30 games and has 10 in his last 23. Overall, he was batting .282 since May 15, entering Friday's game.
Sveum has played with and coached some of the best designated hitters in the game, including David Ortiz and Paul Molitor, and he knows not many hitters like the role.
"It's something [where] you have to get accustomed to the process and stay loose and not dwell on your at-bat for eight other hitters on the bench," Sveum said. "[Target Field] is a nice place because we have a cage right there [near the dugout] and you can stay loose. In our park, it would be difficult to stay loose."
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Soriano liked the setup at Target Field, but said he wouldn't mind being the DH against the White Sox next week at U.S. Cellular Field. That's because he won't have to make the long run from the visitor's dugout to left field.
"I like to be close to my dugout -- [Wrigley Field] is perfect," Soriano said.
Soriano's knee has been a problem since late April, but the Cubs' athletic trainers have come up with exercises for Soriano that have helped. He may need arthroscopic surgery in the offseason, but there's a lot of time before he has to make that decision.
Stewart bothered by sore left wrist
MINNEAPOLIS -- For the last couple of weeks, Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart has played with his left wrist well wrapped. He's had soreness since Spring Training, and the discomfort has expanded.
"It was starting to get sore on the other side of my wrist, on the inside part," Stewart said Friday. "The tape job that Mark [O'Neal, head athletic trainer] came up with has been helping. It's helped stabilize it and it's keeping it from bending one way or another too much."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has kept Stewart in the lineup because of his glove work.
"It's just a matter of him coming in and saying it's too sore to go, as much as anything," Sveum said. "That defense is tough to take out of the lineup. He's a guy who hopefully gets hot and can carry you.
"He's got to get in there and play that defense and somehow figure something out and get hot to carry us. It's too big of an at-bat. If it's not consistent, be streaky -- that would be nice."
The wrist problems haven't affected his defensive play.
"For the most part, the movement with the glove is more with the arm than the wrist," Stewart said.
Stewart has struggled at the plate, entering Friday's game batting .194 overall and 3-for-17 on this seven-game road trip. Sveum dropped Stewart to ninth in the lineup for the first game of the Cubs Interleague series against the Twins.
Is Stewart frustrated?
"Definitely," Stewart said. "I haven't gotten hot this year yet. It'll come and everything will just take care of itself."
Cubs decide not to add Rizzo for Interleague
MINNEAPOLIS -- On May 20, manager Dale Sveum said the Cubs might consider the possibility of promoting top prospect Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Iowa for the Interleague games in American League ballparks. But the first baseman was still with Iowa on Friday when the Cubs opened their series against the Twins.
"We thought better of it and obviously, we didn't do it," Sveum said Friday. "There's no plans to do it against the White Sox [June 18-20] either."
Rizzo was batting .362 in 53 games, and was 7-for-15 in his last five after missing one week with a sore right wrist. He hit his 18th homer on Friday, his first since returning to the lineup on June 2.
"We have to be careful expecting him to hit a home run every other day," Sveum said.
Another Minor Leaguer Sveum is keeping an eye on is third baseman Josh Vitters, who was batting .267 with nine homers and 13 doubles in 56 games at Iowa. And Sveum does watch the youngsters, checking video of their games.
"He's been swinging the bat really well lately," Sveum said. "He [doesn't have] great command of the strike zone. He puts the ball in play, doesn't strike out a lot for that kind of hitter. He still has to develop defensively. He's got to get better defensively before we think of [promoting him]."
Former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo will be immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame in six weeks, and visitors to Cooperstown can celebrate his legacy now. The Hall has added some Santo items for display. The list includes:
A 1969 Cubs road jersey worn by Santo.
A bat used by Santo in '69, when he hit 29 home runs and totaled a career-best 123 RBIs.
A batting helmet Santo used in 1966, featuring one of the first models that incorporated an ear flap
Santo's 1968 Gold Glove Award, his fifth straight at third base.
Santo will be inducted along with Reds shortstop Barry Larkin on July 22 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., which will be shown live on MLB Network.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.