- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jeff Francoeur hasn’t played at Citi Field since last August, but he still feels plenty of pain for anyone who has to hit in the Mets' ballpark. David Wright, in particular.
Kansas City Royals
“They’ve got to shorten the park a little bit. It’s huge,” Francoeur said from the Kansas City clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees. “I’m not saying to make a bandbox like Philadelphia. But, I mean, poor David hits the ball to right-center so well. And there it’s an out or it’s deep, and to me, that’s when you start trying to pull the ball. You start getting in habits. And I know it’s been frustrating for David playing in that park.”
Wright has never called for ownership to bring in the fences, but he’s acknowledged that the spacious dimensions at Citi Field have hampered him in the past.
Wright had just five home runs at Citi Field in 2009. He hit 12 at home in 2010. For comparison’s sake, the third baseman hit 21 long balls at Shea Stadium in 2008.
Francoeur, who played 299 games with the Mets between 2009 and 2010, also said that deep dimensions in Citi have affected Jason Bay.
Bay has just seven home runs in 110 games as a Met after hitting 36 with the Red Sox in 2009. Bay has been hampered by injuries, most recently a strained oblique that has kept him sidelined for all but 16 games this season. Bay has four homers in 219 career at-bats at Citi Field.
“How can it not [affect Bay]?” Francoeur said. “It wears on you.”
The wall at the Mets’ home park is 383 feet away from the plate in right-center. It’s 379 feet away from the plate in left-center field but there is a 15-foot, eight-inch wall.
“You hit some balls to right-center and it’s an out or it’s off the wall [and] it’s pretty devastating to a player. It is. Especially when you turn on ESPN at night and you see someone flipping one [at Yankee Stadium] 320 [feet] in the first row and it’s a home run,” Francoeur said. “It’s tough man, it really is.”
Francoeur hit five homers in 61 games at Citi Field last season and four homers in 39 games there in 2009. He has eight homers in 33 games with the Royals this season.