Baseball

Cubs' Alfonso Soriano out 6 weeks with broken hand

Chicago Cubs left-fielder Alfonso Soriano suffered a broken left hand in Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Chicago Cubs left-fielder Alfonso Soriano suffered a broken left hand in Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the visiting Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field.

Soriano, 32, was struck on the hand as he tried to swing at an inside pitch from Atlanta starter and loser Jeff Bennett (0-4) in the second inning.

"As soon as the ball hit me in the hand, I could not move my finger, so I thought it was very bad," Soriano said. "They say it is a little broke."

"A bad break for us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Just an unfortunate thing.

"It is a shame, it really is. Things happen in baseball."

Soriano was treated on the field by Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal and walked to the dugout before being taken to hospital.

The eight-time all-star will wear a splint for three weeks and likely be sidelined six weeks.

"There is nothing I can about it because it is part of the game," Soriano said. "I cannot control that situation."

Ryan Dempster (8-2), from Sechelt, B.C., scattered four hits and struck out 11 batters for his first complete game since Sept. 25, 2002.

But Dempster's performance was overshadowed by the loss of Soriano.

"It is frustrating because I like to play every day [and] now I'm not available to play," Soriano said. "I'm going to do what the trainer wants me to do so I can come back quick."

Had strained calf

Soriano is hitting .284 out of the leadoff spot with a team-high 15 home runs, 40 runs batted in, 36 runs scored and seven stolen bases in 50 games.

In April, he spent two weeks on the disabled list with a strained calf.

"We're a lot better team with him than without him," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "And the unfortunate thing is, he was starting to run much better.

"He was feeling like he was going to start stealing some bases again and he ran very well the last three or four days, so I feel bad for him. He is really a good teammate and wants to win."

Soriano is a .282 hitter overall with 256 HRs, 670 RBIs, 757 runs and 236 steals in 1,146 games over 10 MLB seasons with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals and Cubs.

Chicago signed him to an eight-year, $136-million US contract on Nov. 20, 2006.

With files from the Associated Press

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