No Extra Worrying

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Wigginton Has Been Through Many Slow Starts Before

April 24, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton isn't worried. He has been in this situation plenty of times before.

In his first 50 at-bats of 2009, Wigginton had just 11 hits, all singles, and was batting .220 heading into Thursday.

"Am I concerned about the slow start? Not in the least bit," said Wigginton, who has been starting at third base with Melvin Mora on the disabled list. "I know if I get my [at-bats] by the end of the year, the numbers will be there."

How slow of a starter is Wigginton?

Of the 199 active major leaguers who have had at least 300 at-bats in March/April, Wigginton's .237 average is 182nd. A career .270 hitter overall, he has hit at least .261 in every other month.

If there had been any frustration, he said, it was that he hadn't yet had an extra-base hit as an Oriole. In five of the past six seasons, Wigginton has finished with 22 or more doubles and double-digit homers. Last year, he had five homers through June 30 and then 18 after that, including 12 in August.

On Thursday, Wigginton picked up his first extra-base hit, a double in the third inning.

"I feel like I just missed a lot of baseballs," Wigginton said. "I think in Boston I had a bunch. We're talking just a little bit [different] and I was going to drive those balls and they were going to go a good ways."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Wigginton has been pulling too many pitches and swinging at questionable first pitches. More patience and a shorter swing should help, Trembley said.

"I think his swing right now is a little long," Trembley said, "but I think the at-bat he had [Wednesday] night, where he hit the line drive to right-center, that's more in tune with what he needs to do."

Trembley also is not worried.

"Once he gets that first extra-base hit out of the way, I think he can take a deep breath and relax," Trembley said before the game. "He is such a competitor, and I think he really, really is pushing the button a little too much."

Uehara vs. Texas again

Koji Uehara has pitched well twice this season and had one clunker - allowing seven runs in five innings against the Texas Rangers on April 13.

Now he gets the Rangers again Friday, and Trembley said Uehara will make adjustments as he did in his most recent start at Fenway Park on Sunday.

"He has got to pitch inside, establish his fastball in. That's what he did against Boston and had very good success," Trembley said.

Pie needs consistency

Felix Pie was back in the starting lineup Thursday after taking a seat against a tough left-hander Wednesday. Trembley said the young outfielder (7-for-41) needs playing time and consistency.

"I don't think he has really settled in on a consistent basis with the stance and the approach we want him" to, Trembley said. "I think what hinders him is not playing successive days. I think he is a guy that needs to play a lot ... to get into some kind of groove."

On Wednesday, Pie took early batting practice and was told to hit everything on the ground, to take advantage of his speed and to stop him from lifting so many pitches. Thursday night, he went 2-for-4.

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