Ryan Sweeney and the Red Sox leadoff spot not getting along
|05.17.12 at 12:42 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s not Ryan Sweeney’s thing. It wasn’t three seasons ago, and it isn’t now.
He knows it, a
nd his manager knows it.
Still, for now, you’re looking at the Red Sox leadoff hitter against right-handed pitcing for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been going,” Sweeney said when asked his thoughts on his recent stint as a leadoff man. “We’ll see what happens. I’ve been talking to Bobby about it. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing, or if I try to do too much when I get put in that spot.
“It’s just one of those things I don’t know why it’s like that, but, like I told [Valentine], it’s ultimately up to him what he wants to do.”
Since sliding into the Sox’ top spot against righties a week ago, Sweeney has hit .154 with a .185 on-base percentage over six games.
It has been a similar result from his experience at the top of the order, in 2009 with the Athletics. During that 24-game stint – which he said was uncomfortable for the entire time – Sweeney hit .250 with a .311 on-base percentage.
For Sox manager Bobby Valentine, it’s a dynamic he is aware of, but it still doesn’t change his predicament.
“Not sure he’s feeling comfortable at the leadoff spot,” said Valentine of Sweeney. “I’m not totally comfortable putting him there.”
Before the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Rays Wednesday night, when asked if he had explored other options, Valentine said, “Every minute, yeah. But it seems to be working though, right? We got him a couple of more hits. When you haven’t had a lot of success doing something, it’s an easy pit to fall into, saying that there’s a reason and when you’re hitting .380 and you get down to .320 and it happens to coincide with the time that you’re moved somewhere in the order, it’s a real simple deductio to make rather than saying, ‘Hey, I’m a .320 hitter and now I’m right where I’m supposed to be, so keep doing it. But I get it – I totally get it. I’ve lived it with him and I resisted at the beginning as you all know. ‘Oh, he’s hitting .400 with an on-base percentage, why don’t you put him leadoff?’ I get it. ‘I don’t think he’s comfortable there. I don’t think he’s had success there in the past.’ That’s what we deal with.”
During the Sweeney experiment, the Red Sox have the fourth-most runs in the majors, having won five of seven games.
But it still appears there may be some more thought to change until Jacoby Ellsbury can arrive back on the scene. It’s a notion Sweeney is more than open to.
“We’ll see,” he said.
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