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Juan Uribe, off to a slow start, says he's not pressing

Photo: Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe takes a cut against the Giants on opening day at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Juan Uribe knows the refrain. He’s heard all the stories, is familiar with the rationale.

Player signs big contract with a new team, tries too hard to impress, gets all out of whack and struggles.

Uribe signed a three-year, $21-million deal with the Dodgers in the offseason and entered Saturday batting .156 without a home run and only three RBIs.

He does not look like the Uribe who hit 24 home runs and drove in 85 runs for the Giants last season.

"I can’t say for sure what’s going on, but I hope he’s not pressing," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "That’s one thing we don’t want. We just want him to be himself.

"We’ve seen it a lot when guys comes over to a new club. They want to show them what they can do, show them that they’re worth the deal. I mean, you’re impressing new eyes, and that’s always tough. You’re trying to show people what you can do instead of just letting it happen."

Yet Uribe said he’s a long way from pressing, from trying to justify anything.

"It’s only one month," Uribe said. "Not even a month. How many more months? It’s 5½ months more. It’s not finished right now.

"I don’t have pressure, because I know. I know I can play. I feel no pressure for myself."

Last season the 32-year-old Dominican had a career year for the Giants. The Dodgers needed to add power, and he was their only significant off-season addition.

With the Dodgers off to an unimpressive offensive start, naturally some eyes fall to Uribe’s lack of production. Uribe shrugs.

"I come into the ballpark every day to work," he said. "I work hard. That’s the way to do it. You control what you can control. I work hard every day to get better. One day, and I can do better. One day."

Uribe has struck out a team-high 12 times in 45 at-bats. He has a reputation as a hard, free swinger, though some of his misses have been at pitches clearly out of the strike zone.

Mattingly understands who he is dealing with but thinks Uribe could have had some more disciplined at-bats.

"Sometimes, again that kind of shows you he wants to do something for us and show people," Mattingly said. "But you kinda are what you eat. You swing at stuff out of the strike zone all the time, you’re not going to hit very well.

"He doesn’t get cheated very often, but we still have to get him maybe a little more in the area."

Mattingly said there is no telltale sign to observe from the dugout to determine whether a player is pressing. You offer encouragement, cross fingers and send them out the next day. Otherwise, it’s hard to tell.

"Not really," he said. "They’re the ones who know it the best. You talk to them about it. We’ve talked to him a couple of different times about just being himself. We know what he can do.

"They come back. They’re career hitters for a reasons. [Ex-Dodgers and Yankees coach] Frank Howard always used to tell me, 'You’re a .300 hitter. You hit .200 in April, that means you hit .400 in May.' It always evens up to where they normally are."

Uribe’s versatility has been an early benefit to the Dodgers. Signed to play second base, he started seven games at third, most while Casey Blake was out with an injured back. Saturday he started at shortstop, where he mostly played for the Giants last season.

"For me it’s no problem," Uribe said. "I’m here to help the team. Wherever Donny puts me in the lineup, I can do it. The manager’s the boss.

"That would be an excuse. 'Oh, I no can hit because I play third. I no can hit because I play second.' Nah, that’s an excuse. Wherever they put you, you hit."

Uribe received his World Series ring from the Giants on Monday in an on-field ceremony in San Francisco. The Giants surrounded home plate and mugged him afterwards, giving him warm embraces.

Uribe was moved by their response, but doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

"It was emotional, happy," he said. "The ring, the teammates, what they do to me. But I feel happy here and comfortable here. I like it here."

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Dodgers continue their fast fade in 11-2 loss to the Cardinals

Hong-Chih Kuo put on disabled list, leaving Dodgers with no lefty reliever

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe takes a cut against the Giants on opening day at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (22)

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If he is not pressing and playing free of pressure, I suggest he press and feel some pressure. Buck-56? In my best Cris Carter imitation, "C'mon man."

He won't hit 24 w/ 1/2 his games in the Ravine, but a new player on a new team ? Yea, he's pressing but he'll come around.

Mattingly made HUGE mistake as we can all see how CK was pressing & esp. after the 1 pitch, yet he & Rick sit there & leave him in to let the game get away! I see Torre written all over that non move!

Just another ex-giant whose had a career year last year and now needs to shed a few pounds. Last year a SF Giant outfielder was caught with PED's and seems like a lot of giant players developed better stats. You wonder how many giants were juiced part of last year. Even my friend whose is a giant fan suspected players were taking PED's.

Redlands - That "Giant" you speak of was Jose Guillan, who came on to the Giants late into the year. His only contribution to the team was a grand slam, after which his bat went into silence. To assume that the rest of the Giants were 'roided up is probably the only way you can justify the World Series win. Because you know, they were just TEARING UP the post-season with those bats, and not that pitching. Although I suppose you believe that Timmy was roided up, too.

I have a feeling that he's going to hit because of his attitude.

How is it possible that Ned Colletti still has a job?

Lifetime .250 hitter who has hit under .250 4 of tbe last ,5 years. But Ryan Theriot is .300 hitter and isn't 70 pounds over weight! Oh I get it now zurebe off the a slow start.funny!

uribe is just not good. this was a terrible contract and decision by ned. this is going to work out as well as jason schmidt and andrew jones.

Uribe is what he is......Actually he currently has better numbers than Carl Crawford and Vernon Wells and is only slightly worse than Dan Uggla who is hitting .172..........It's only April 16......Dodger fans need to chill out

Dallas-Please don't try to argue that Mattingly left Kershaw in too long......It's ridiculous.Yes Clayton didn't have his best stuff but it was still a 2-1 game and the bullpen is tired.Furthermore, with 2 out in the 5th it was Clayton Kershaw verses Allen Craig (Who's that)......I'll take that match up any day of he week.Craig just got lucky............Save your Mattingly second guessing for when he actually does something worse second guessing.Leaving Kershaw in was a no brainer.

I don't blame Uribe, he is what he is. But to think his bat would make a difference to this pathetic line up was a ridiculous thought, and just goes to show how bad and clueless management and ownership really is!

Steve,
It might be a good idea NOT to use "mugged" in any story involving the Dodgers. I think "hugged" might have been a better word.

Besides, the way Uribe is playing why wouldn't the Giants want to hug him?

Who is Juan Uribe?

Sorry strained, but have to respectfully disagree. Even Vinny said the prior pitch was forced & he looked tired coming off the rubber.
Agree w/ the statement that it was just a relative unknown, but any major leaguer, if a SP hangs a pitch, can launch one & launch one he did.
It's what, the 14th, 15th game of the season & he has to be able to go to his pen; sure, a few have worked a bit, but if they are in shape(*another thing I question) & 3 weeks in, they should be, they have to be able to pitch 2 innings here & another 2 innings there. & he still had fairly rested choices in the pen.
Sure, it's one game, in mid April, but slumps are made & kept alive by choices like that. The way they had been playing of late, to go down big at that point, with a rather anemic offense, really takes any wind from their sails.
So yes, he should have pulled CK & gone to his pen for 2, maybe 3 innings from one, & 2 from another, to at least try & keep it close. Down by 2-1, maybe they can rally, win & then start a streak the other way, but for a team struggling, & not much of an offense, you have to try & preserve that small deficit instead of risking going down big at that point.
You speak of the pen being tired, but he still had a few rested arms, whereas your soon-to-be ace, had worked a long game his prior start & was already close to 100 pitches at that point. in the 4th! I'd much rather save his arm, than worry about a pen that only pitches 1-3 innings per outing & again, he had a few rested arms anyway..

* It seems to me the Dodgers are, en masse, out of shape as they don't work in the off season like the old timers did; Garland, Kuo, Blake & his,. ahem, charley horse(!), etc. And our closer is a joke at over 300# ! He gets winded standing up!

Ken from Newport, Theriot is just not a good player. BA is a horrible stat to use. His career OBP is .349, and his career slg% is a horrendous .356. And he's a bad defender so he doesn't make up for it with his glove. His career Rfield is -2 (anything less than 0 means that he's below average).

As for Uribe, his career OBP of .299 is dreadful, but his slg% of .429 is good for a middle infielder. He makes up for it to some extent, though, with his glove, as his career Rfield is 38. I wasn't a fan of the Uribe signing because the Dodgers are starved for OBP, but to wax nostalgic for a guy like Theriot is the day that the Dodgers have become no better than the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Uribe should be our bottom of the barrel happy to have him aboard hard swinging type of #7 or #8 hitter.

HE SHOULD NOT BE LOOKED AT AS A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR.

their signing of uribe quite possibly the duds' worst free-agent move(s) since they inked "stan-the-man-unusual" &/or dave goltz, each of whom was a horrendous flop............

& true-to-form, "maa-teen-glee" remains totally clueless overall, & in particular, as to what is the matter w/uribe!!!

In a line-up of scrubs Uribe can not be effective batting 5th. "With this line-up" he'd be more effective batting 2nd.

Uribe will never be "the man"... If used correctly he's a " very good" component and nothing more.

The Frank Howard quote tell's the story. At the end of the year he will hit better than .250 and have around 20hr. Which is why we paid him. A little too much.

Good that Uribe isn't pressing, at least he knows how to get back in a groove, but as a lifetime .248 with 4 of last 5 yrs at or below that, he isn't that good to begin with, so our expectations should not be Ned's, who is a proven idiot, thinking that one decent slugging year means he's going to get better as he ages WITHOUT roids?! THAT'S Nedthink. Our expectations should be about what he's going thru + occasional spurts that gets his avg up to .248. We are to be grateful when he does hit, not scratching our heads when he doesn't.

Accordingly, looking at everyone Ned signs thru the wacky prism he sees them thru, and you get this team performing EXACTLY up to realistic expectations. iow, where's the surprise?? Only D Baseball seems surprised. Which also should not surprise us, he's drunk on Ned's kool-ade like he's drunk on Torre's managerial style, he can't see reality outside the box Frank McCourt's managment has put him in.

As Bill Parcells put it, bringing us back to reality outside the wackadoos populating Dodgers mismanagment, You are what your record says you are. Not what Ned's fantasies say you "ought" to be. Stop drinking from Ned's Kool-ade stand, people, and expect teamwide slumps and spurts of improvement building to mediocrity, and no further.

He's a Dodger now. He doesn't have to work hard.

He was an awful signing, and anyone with an ounce of baseball sense knew it. His outlier stats are dreadful (look at his career OBP ... jeeze ...) and even in his "career year" he wasn't that great. Ned Collettti is just a flat-out moron. Signs Jason Schmidt to a multi-year deal even though he had a torn rotator cuff, signs Andrew Jones to a horrific contract, signs Juan Pierre to an even worse contract, bids against himself to sign Manny Ramirez for more than twice what any other team would have paid, trades Carlos Santana for Casey Blake (????!?!?!?!), let's multiple players like Blake DeWitt walk for no compensation, and he picks up the tab on a worthless Esteban Loiaza. The worst GM in baseball.


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