Alfonso Soriano's knee not 100 percent

Updated: February 22, 2010, 9:35 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs left-fielder Alfonso Soriano reported to spring training on Monday and said his left knee, which was surgically repaired in September, has not fully recovered.

"I don't feel 100 percent because I'm not running 100 percent," Soriano said on Monday. "I'm just running 75 to 80 percent, and I don't feel nothing that hurts. When I start running 100 percent I want to know how it feels."

Soriano listed his percentage of recovery at 75-80 percent, and said he hasn't tried to run full throttle on the knee during the winter.

Soriano said he has been working out in his native Dominican Republic. He said he doesn't want to push things too quickly with a goal of being ready for Opening Day.

"We'll see when I test my knee running in the field and do some stuff I didn't do in the Dominican and my knee will tell me where I'm at," Soriano said.

Soriano, who has been taking batting practice with no pain, is looking forward to working with new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. He said he'll have a better idea where his knee is at when he begins practice on Tuesday.

"I don't know what I will feel tomorrow when I put on my uniform and start running," he said.

No longer the bases stealer he once was -- he's swiped only 46 combined over the last three years, just five more than he had in all of 2006 with the Nationals -- Soriano has been dropped out of the leadoff spot. He'll bat either fifth or sixth, giving more opportunities to drive in runs.

Soriano played in only 117 games with the Cubs last season. He played his final game on Sept. 3 and had arthroscopic surgery 12 days later, ending his season. He batted just .241 with 20 homers and 55 RBIs in the third year of his eight-year, $136 million contract.

Soriano heard the boos last season from fed-up Cubs fans, especially after Chicago missed the playoffs after winning back-to-back division titles. Soriano's big contract and his struggles made him a target.

It was obvious, at times, that his knee was bothering him, especially in the outfield.

"This game is tough to play and when you have something on your mind, it's tougher," the 34-year-old Soriano said. "I'm not making excuses about my knee. ... When they boo me, it pushes me to be a better player."

New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is expected to arrive Tuesday when the Cubs have their first full-squad workout. He will likely address the team. Manager Lou Piniella will be among those interested in hearing what his new boss has to say.

"It will be new a new start for Cub baseball, and I think it's going to be a really good thing," Piniella said Monday as rain forced the Cubs to take batting practice in the cages.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.