NEW YORK -- It has been difficult for Alfonso Soriano to maintain a positive attitude during his extended struggles at the plate, but the Yankees' position in the standings has helped him to keep his head in the game.
"Being in the position that we are right now as a team makes it more easy on me, because we fight and we're only [1 1/2] games out," Soriano said before Saturday's game. "That makes my mind a little bit more relaxed, because we're winning and we're not far to first place."
Now in part-time duty for the Yanks, Soriano has been frustrated by his performance this season after providing a jolt to the offense late last year. He said that he has been feeling better at the plate, where he entered play on Saturday with five hits in his last 23 at-bats.
"I just watch the game, hit in the cage to try to not lose my focus," Soriano said. "I know they want me to play one or two games every series, so I want to stay ready for my opportunity. That's what I try to do. It's something different, but I just try to find something to do and not try to think too much."
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.