Slumping Scott has 'tried everything'

Notebook

DH is hitting .187 overall, .053 with runners in scoring position

May 03, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK — — With a tough left-hander in CC Sabathia on the mound Monday night for the New York Yankees, Luke Scott probably wouldn't have been in the lineup even if he were swinging the bat well.

But whether it is a right-handed or left-handed pitcher going for the opposing team these days, the results have been the same for Scott, a notoriously streaky hitter who is the midst of one of the most difficult slumps of his career — one that is showing no signs of lifting.

"It would be to our benefit if he would get going," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "This has been one of the most prolonged slumps. It looks like there's a lot of checked swings. It looks like there's a lot of indecision of whether to swing or not. When he's going real good, it doesn't matter if he's [facing] right or left[-hander]. He hits the ball to left-center field, and I have not seen that. He's taking the good ones, and he's missing the pitches he should hit."

Scott entered Monday night's series opener at Yankee Stadium hitting just .187 (14-for-75) with three homers and eight RBIs in 23 games. But more concerning to the Orioles, Scott's struggles go well beyond just a sluggish start.

He is hitting .203 (59-for-291) since the All-Star break last year, and despite leading the club with 25 homers last year, Scott has just 10 homers and 34 RBIs in his past 85 games.

"I've tried everything that I know to do," Scott said. "I've worked my behind off in the cage. I've watched video. I've worked on things in batting practice. I just can't put my finger on it. It's tremendously frustrating for me as a player and as a man. You want to see the fruit of your hard work, your labor. But it's a test. It's one of the things that you don't want to go through."

Scott's personal frustration reached its peak in Sunday's victory over the Boston Red Sox, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, including two with the bases loaded and fewer than two outs. That extended his slump to 3-for-22 (.136), and he has struck out eight times in his past 14 at-bats. He's also just 1-for-19 (.053) with runners in scoring position this season.

"My front side is leaking," Scott said. "In my mind, when I'm up there hitting, I'm like, 'All right, keep the front side in there,' and as soon as the ball comes out, it's going. For me, it's frustrating to the point where, like I said before, I lose sleep over of it."

Scott said he understands that he could potentially lose some at-bats if he doesn't break out of the slump soon.

"I understand they need to put a winning ballclub on the field. Yes, personally, you have to get at-bats to get through this and to get better, but at the same time, it's a team game," Scott said. "The most important thing is the team and winning. Should I get opportunities? Yes. But at the same time, if I'm not in the lineup, should I throw chairs and get all upset? I have no right to because although my effort is there, I'm not performing."

Uehara won't be in N.Y.

Orioles reliever Koji Uehara, who made his second rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Norfolk on Monday night, will take two days off. The earliest he would rejoin the club would be Thursday against the Minnesota Twins.

After throwing a scoreless inning for the Tides on Sunday, Uehara, who is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, pitched one scoreless inning against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday, allowing one hit, striking out one and throwing 12 of his 13 pitches for strikes. It was his fourth — and possibly last — rehab appearance.

"I don't know if that will happen yet," Trembley said. "We'll see after the reports we get tonight, and see where we go from there."

First is last

One of president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail's primary goals this offseason was to upgrade the offensive production at the first base spot, but that has not happened thus far with the addition of Garrett Atkins.

The Orioles have also used Scott, Rhyne Hughes and Ty Wigginton at first this season with mixed results. From the first base spot this season, the Orioles have gotten no home runs, 10 RBIs, a .247 batting average, a .270 on-base percentage and a .320 slugging percentage.

The Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians were the only other teams heading into Monday night that had not gotten a home run from their first baseman.

Around the horn

It was an interesting reunion Monday night at Yankee Stadium as three former members of the Orioles' brain trust were on hand in different capacities. Former executive vice president Mike Flanagan was broadcasting the game for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, former vice president Jim Beattie was scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays and their former manager Lee Mazzilli was in the area and stopped by the stadium to say hello to some friends. … Orioles pitching prospect Chris Tillman was named the International League Pitcher of the Week after throwing a no-hitter against Gwinnett on Wednesday. … Jake Arrieta (Triple-A Norfolk) and Ronnie Welty (Single-A Frederick) were named the organization's Pitcher and Player of the Month, respectively, for April.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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