Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pirates Cast, Not Knee Faulted in Jason Bay Slump

Pirates slugger Jason Bay -- having just broken an 0-14 slump with an RBI single in a 6-3 win over Milwaukee -- is experiencing no lingering effects from last January's knee surgery, though he acknowledges losing explosiveness on the basepaths.

Still, Bay has not blamed his surgery for his batting average plumeting 60 points to the .250s over the past month. Presumably, Bay can still swing the bat.

More likely at fault Bay's decline are the team's supporting cast members, who have been struggling much of the year, especially first baseman Adam La Roche. La Roche was brought over from the Braves expressly to protect Bay in the lineup, but until recently had struggled just to keep his batting average over .200.

Having hit .455 with two home runs last week, however, and having continued to hit the ball hard since, La Roche at last will help Bay see a lot more decent pitches. In his most recent outing, La Roche hit still another homer and just missed one that went for a double.

Thanks to La Roche, look for Bay to break out of the doldrums after the All-Star break, though he may not steal 25 baes again.