Bigbie may be hitting his way out of town

On tear since leaving DL, Oriole sees streak coincide with Marlins trade rumors

June 30, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie has heard the rumors. He is well aware that if the Orioles make a trade for a starting pitcher, he may be one of the players to go, forcing an exit from the only professional organization he has ever known.

He also realizes that he may not be helping his wish to remain with the Orioles. In 13 games since returning from a strained left hamstring that sent the left fielder to the 15-day disabled list, Bigbie is hitting .378 (14-for-37). When he went on the disabled list on May 28, Bigbie, 27, had no home runs and nine RBIs.

He now has four homers, including ones in consecutive games this week against the New York Yankees, and 17 RBIs.

"I don't know if I am making it difficult or making it better because the trade would be even better for the other team now that I am playing good," Bigbie, whose name has been mentioned in trade talks with the Florida Marlins for pitcher A.J. Burnett, said before last night's rainout of the Yankees series finale.

"If you play bad, the other team might not want the trade. If you play good, it might make it go through. But either way, it's a business and as a player, you have to know that stuff like that is going to happen.

"It would be disappointing to me, but at the same time, I'd just have to move on with my career. The biggest disappointment would be being here through the tough times in the organization and then not finally having a chance to be on a winning club."

Bigbie has steadfastly refused to blame his slow start on the hamstring injury. He admitted that it is certainly nice to be healthy again, but he credits a change in his batting stance for his improvement at the plate.

Bigbie has lowered his hands, hoping to shorten his swing and improve his patience at the plate.

"When you're a hitter, when you change the slightest little thing, it feels like a huge thing," said Bigbie. "By doing it, I don't feel like I have to rush to get to the ball. I am able to sit back and try to wait on a good pitch. I think that's been the key to my success."

The outfielder was disappointed that the Orioles put him on the disabled list in the first place. He felt that he could have returned to the lineup much quicker than 15 days.

But as he looked back on it, Bigbie said the time away gave him a chance to analyze his problems at the plate. He reviewed tapes from last season when he was hitting well. He then compared them to ones from this year where he struggled.

"At the time, [the DL] didn't seem like a good thing for me to do, but the trainers are right," he said. "You're able to sit back and take time and evaluate things and look at some tapes. I just tried to figure it out from there and so far, so good."

Manager Lee Mazzilli had planned to hit Bigbie in the second slot in the Orioles' lineup last night for the second consecutive game, before the series finale with the Yankees was postponed by rain.

"I think he's made some adjustments, but I think now, he is going out there not holding anything back," Mazzilli said.

"He's swinging the bat right now. You need guys that are going to get on base and right now, he's getting on base."

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