B.J. Upton has four homers in his last five games with nine RBIs. It's the kind of groove he was in during the 2008 playoffs.
04/21/2010 11:21 AM ET
B.J. Upton getting his groove on
Rays center fielder hitting his stride at the plate
"He looks pretty close," Rays manager Joe Maddon told the Tampa Tribune. "Almost identical."
Upton said he's making sure he gets his front foot down in time to allow his hands to move through the hitting zone. That timing mechanism is something he struggled with last season.
"Just good swings," Upton said. "Like I said before, just stay with my approach and don't stray away from it. Stay with it and trust it. That's what I've been doing the last couple of weeks, and it's working out."
Eckstein surprises himself: David Eckstein surprised even himself with his game-winning home run on Monday night.
The Padres' veteran shortstop can be counted on for clutch hitting, but it usually comes in the form of a sharp single through a hole in the defense. He yanked one down the left-field line that cleared the fence just inside the foul pole at PETCO Park in the bottom of the 10th inning to give San Diego a 3-2 win over San Francisco.
"I definitely wasn't expecting that," Eckstein told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I was so disappointed in my three previous at-bats that my thought process was to see the ball and try not to do too much."
Morrow finds success with new delivery: Brandon Morrow made a slight adjustment in his delivery prior to his strong performance in the Blue Jays' 8-1 win over the Royals on Monday night.
"I dropped my arm angle just a touch, and it kind of opened up a lot of things," Morrow told MLB.com. "My ball was moving a lot more. I was keeping the ball down, and everything just seemed to be a lot better."
Ike Davis begins career with single: Ike Davis, the son of former Major League reliever Ron Davis and a first-round draft pick in the 2008 draft, joined the Mets on Monday afternoon and got a single in his first at-bat that night.
A 6-foot-4, left-handed first baseman and only 23, Davis is a powerful line-drive hitter who makes good contact. His father likens his style of play to John Olerud.
"He was tempting [the Mets to place him on the 25-man roster] based on what we saw in Spring Training, but we wanted him to get some at-bats in Triple-A," general manager Omar Minaya told the New York Daily News. "He's handled Triple-A as well as you'd want for a young kid."
For Redmond, Target Field a breath of fresh air: Mike Redmond, who spent years as a member of the Twins, returned to Minnesota with the Indians and was impressed by the club's new outdoor stadium.
"It's nice to get out here, and it's phenomenal," Redmond told MLB.com. "Thinking back to the Metrodome, I realized I had a cough for five years, and I swear it was because of the Metrodome. I just got rid of that cough within the last couple months. I'm glad that we are outdoors and can breathe some fresh air."
Kinsler aiming to return next week: Ian Kinsler increased his activity level on Tuesday and hopes he can come off the disabled list next week when the Rangers return home to start a homestand.
Kinsler will likely be sent to extended Spring Training in Arizona followed by a short rehab assignment before joining the club. He still won't be at full strength.
"But I want to get on the field," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm going to have to build some strength back up. I'd prefer to do that on the field."
Duensing proving reliable in relief: Reliever Brian Duensing is becoming a go-to left-hander for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
"He's doing great no matter where we put him," Gardenhire told MLB.com. "Duensing, we can use in those left-handed spots with [Jose] Mijares out. He's doing fine, can come in and get lefties and righties out. He's got a good changeup. He cuts the ball. He's good in that role, coming in and getting big lefties out too."
Felipe Lopez glad to be back with Cardinals: Felipe Lopez says coach Jose Oquendo helped his infield play during his first stint in St. Louis.
"I'm better because of what I learned here," Lopez told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Oquendo emphasized things like footwork and using my legs. Before I would just stand up and throw. Sometimes the ball might sail or sink. By setting myself instead of hurrying, it's more consistent."
Avila responsible for Damon's new mohawk: When Johnny Damon asked Tigers teammate Alex Avila to give him a mohawk, Avila couldn't say no.
"We were talking about doing it," Avila told MLB.com. "We were going to wait until my hair gets a little longer and then do my hair. We were talking about me getting one, and he was going to do one, and I was like, 'Yeah, sure, I'll cut it for you,' just kind of joking around.
"And then [Monday] he was like, 'Yeah, let's cut my hair.' I'm like, 'OK.' How am I going to say no to Johnny Damon?"
Golf outing leaves Stammen with new approach: Craig Stammen got some good advice from Livan Hernandez during a recent golf match.
Hernandez explained to Stammen that he could always hit the ball straight when he swung easy.
"How I play golf," Hernandez told him, "is how I pitch."
Following the advice Stammen allowed just five hits and two runs in eight innings to pick up a win against the Rockies.
"He throw the ball down today," Hernandez told the The Washington Post. "Perfect. He's got stuff as good anybody on the staff. His slider disappears."
Gaudin, Edwar Ramirez claim championship rings: Prior to Oakland's game against the Yankees on Tuesday night, Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez received their 2009 World Series rings.
"Once you become a part of their team, you're as special as they are," Gaudin told the Oakland Tribune.
"Every baseball player, especially in the Major Leagues, is looking for something like that," Ramirez said. "It's amazing for me, my family and my hometown."
Berkman picks up pair of RBIs in return: Lance Berkman, who went 3-for-6 with two doubles and a home run during a two-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock, went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in his first game back with the Astros on Tuesday night.
"My swing feels pretty good," Berkman told the Houston Chronicle before Tuesday's game. "Clearly [during a rehab assignment], you're not facing the same caliber of guys that you're going to be facing in the big leagues, particularly the guys we've faced so far this year.
"But it always feels good to get the hits, and I also feel I'm not that far off with my timing."
Conor Jackson lands on DL with strained hamstring: The Diamondbacks placed left fielder Conor Jackson on the disabled list after he injured his right hamstring on Sunday. Jackson felt a sharp grab in the hamstring while running and an MRI has revealed a strain.
"Twelve [games] in, and I'm on the 15-day DL, so it's pretty frustrating, pretty disappointing," he told the The Arizona Republic. "But I'm not going to sit here and mope on it. I'm going to get better as soon as possible and get out there and try to help the team."
Hawksworth ready for the haul, short or long: Blake Hawksworth is primarily a long reliever, but he's confident he can help in other roles, too.
"I think I have the ability to go through a lineup with righties and lefties," Hawksworth told MLB.com. "With my changeup, I can pitch to lefties, just because I have something going the other way. So that helps get multiple innings for the team when I need it. But, if they need me to come in for an inning, I can do that, too."
-- Red Line Editorial