CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Now that Alfonso Soriano has been cleared to play in exhibition games, the Yankees' veteran slugger said that he is eager to work on his timing against full-speed pitching.
Soriano played in his first game of the spring on Thursday, striking out in all three at-bats as the designated hitter. He acknowledged that being sidelined for most of camp due to illness has put him a bit behind.
"I'm happy that I at least saw the ball and a pitcher standing there like a real game," Soriano said. "It was a little weird; I didn't feel comfortable out there. This is Spring Training and that's my first game, so I'll look to have more at-bats and get my timing quick."
Soriano said that he was unable to take live batting practice, so his timing is behind big league pitching at this point. He said that the illness is behind him.
"I feel good. Now I just have to work with my timing and seeing strikes," Soriano said. "There's a lot of time, so it's more important for me to be out there for the first time. Now I'm ready to keep working hard."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.