Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Russell's use of Milledge baffling

Can’t help but wonder what Pirates manager John Russell is thinking these days when it comes to Lastings Milledge.

First Russell platooned Milledge with Ryan Church, though he was hitting under .200 against right-handers while Milledge was hitting over .250 against them and over .300 against lefties.

The Pirates got rid of Church in a trade and now Russell is trying to convert catcher Ryan Doumit into a right fielder and has him taking a lot of Milledge’s playing time away.

But you have to give credit to the Palmetto native, who led Lakewood Ranch to its only state baseball championship his senior year. Milledge has handled the situation without moaning or protesting and has adopted a positive attitude.

He even maintained that demeanor when the switch hitting Doumit started against a lefty though he is batting under .200 against southpaws, more than 100 points less than Milledge.

“I just feel like, when I get my opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it, whether it’s two times a week or three times a week,” Milledge told the this week.

Milledge has hit .276 in his last 10 games, getting at least one hit in all but two games where he only had three combined at-bats. For the season, he is hitting .316 against lefties and .251 against right handers.

With runners in scoring position for the season, Milledge is batting .393 against lefties and .327 against righties. Doumit is a switch hitter, but is batting an anemic .179 against lefties striking 20 times in 112 at-bats and .280 against righthanders. With RISP, Doumit is batting .240 from the right side and .250 from the left.

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