|Juan Uribe's sprays an opposite field double down the right field line while hitting with the bases loaded in the eighth inning in tonights 7-2 Dodger win over Atlanta, (photo by Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images).|
Monday, April 23, 2012
A Hat-Trick Plus One for Uribe
We’ve been waiting for over a year for Juan Uribe to arrive. Quite frankly, I never thought it would ever happen. That huge swing from the heels that has become the trademark of the Dominican third baseman has been his greatest enemy.
Who of us really have had any faith in this guy? When he went down with an injury last week, were you really eager for him to come back? When Jerry Hairston made those spectacular plays in Milwaukee and Houston, we resigned ourselves to the new guy that could play third and at least contribute on defense. Uribe possibly going on the D.L. didn't seem to be a big deal.
With Juan Uribe today I saw something different. He shortened up his swing and made adjustments. He even placed outside pitches to right field. Uribe apparently has decided that he doesn’t have to attempt to hit everything into the stratosphere. Has batting coach Dave Hansen been able to reach him? I hope so. I would think in today’s modern game with all the technology and the video reviews, it wouldn’t take much to show Uribe that his all out swings from the heels are counter productive to his success as a hitter.
Coming into tonights game against Atlanta homerless in 40 plate appearances, perhaps Uribe has seen the light. Four hits later, three singles and a double, three to the opposite field, Juan was the hero of tonight’s 7-2 win. With three runs batted in, two runs scored and even scoring on a sacrifice fly on an all-out aggressive play, Juan seemed to be a revitalized player tonight. Sometimes it is a game like tonight that sets a player in motion and breaks him into a streak.
Uribe has never been a player to be selective at the plate. His in-base percentage has usually been in the neighborhood of his batting average. This year was no exception. As he entered Spring Training this year, Uribe claimed that he was a changed man. He told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he was healthy and in shape. “I worked hard...really worked on my physical condition.” He claimed he was on a mission to “regain what I lost last year.”
Now 16 games into the season, hopefully this 4 for 4 game means that Uribe may be turning the corner. Now batting .286, Juan is going to have to prove that he can make the adjustments, like he did tonight. Any production from Uribe at the third base position will be incredibly valuable to this Dodger team that has shown that it’s only real major threats in the lineup have been in the 3 through 5 spots in the lineup. A respectable season from Juan Uribe will do wonders for this Dodger team.