Juan Uribe is putting it all together, at last

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
4:14
PM PT
MIAMI -- In a way, the resurrection of Juan Uribe's career has come out of nowhere.
He batted .204 in 2011, his first year with the Dodgers, and .191 last season.

Now, he's the team's everyday third baseman -- rescuing the Dodgers from the disappointment of Luis Cruz's sudden decline -- and he has responded with his best season since 2009, according to wins above replacement (WAR). Uribe's WAR is 2.5. Evan Longoria's is 3.2.

In a way, maybe it's all perfectly natural.

Uribe is not only batting .283 with a career-high .340 on-base percentage, but his .985 fielding percentage trails only Placido Polanco in the National League. He said the dramatic improvement in his play stems from feeling physically sound again.

Uribe was bothered by a sports hernia throughout 2011, eventually undergoing surgery in September, and it affected his first two seasons with the Dodgers. He said he worked hard on his conditioning over the winter in the Dominican Republic and came to spring training in better shape.

"I'm not making excuses for anything, but I feel good again," Uribe said. "I feel a lot better to be able to help the team."

Uribe, 33, has seen his selectivity increase as his power has declined. Between 2004 and 2010, he hit at least 20 home runs four times. He has just seven in 315 plate appearances this season. Manager Don Mattingly said hitting coach Mark McGwire has worked with Uribe on hitting the ball to the middle of the field.

Uribe once had a reputation as one of the hardest swingers in baseball. He often would go down to one knee when he swung and missed.

"Juan's been good," Mattingly said. "It seems like he's not fouling nearly as many balls back and sometimes that is the byproduct of cutting down your swing just a little bit."

Uribe got Wednesday's game in Miami off, the product of Thursday being a day game, Mattingly said.

* Like Yasiel Puig the day before, Hanley Ramirez -- who also lives in the Miami area -- was nearly 30 minutes late arriving at the ballpark Wednesday. But unlike Puig's, Ramirez's tardiness was excused. He called ahead and informed the Dodgers he had to take his daughter to a medical appointment.

Here are the lineups for Wednesday:

Los Angeles
1. Carl Crawford LF
2. Yasiel Puig RF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Andre Ethier CF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
8. Mark Ellis 2B
9. Zack Greinke RHP

Marlins
1. Christian Yelich LF
2. Donovan Solano 2B
3. Giancarlo Stanton RF
4. Logan Morrison 1B
5. Ed Lucas 3B
6. Adeiny Hechavarria SS
7. Jake Marisnick CF
8. Koyie Hill C
9. Nate Eovaldi RHP

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.298 15 66 88
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 25
RBIA. Gonzalez 112
RD. Gordon 90
OPSY. Puig .867
WC. Kershaw 20
ERAC. Kershaw 1.80
SOC. Kershaw 228