Big Hitter

Carlos Quentin has not had the type of campaign he had envisioned before the 2007 season started. Early on in Spring Training he suffered a shoulder injury which ended up being diagnosed as a partial tear in his labrum. This resulted in the Diamondbacks right fielder being shut down from baseball activities while trainers worked with him to build up the muscles around the labrum. Quentin began the season on the disabled list where he stayed for most of the month of April. When he returned to the Diamondbacks line-up he immediately made an impact getting off to a quick start. That hot streak did not last long and soon the struggles began for the big right hander. Quentin’s batting average dipped below the .200 mark and there were some rumblings around him being replaced in the outfield by Eric Byrnes with Scott Hairston playing in left. It was not just Carlos’ hits that were down though; his streak of hit by pitch also took a beating (pun intended). After being plunked officially 8 times in 2006, the total had dropped off. He was actually hit 10 times but on two occasions the umpire did not feel the ball had hit Quentin (Home plate umpires Paul Emmel and Ed Hickox are officially on the list of umpires who need to review their vision benefits). Over the first month of the season Quentin had been hit only twice. The first was by David Wells of San Diego on April 18 and the other by Mike Pelfrey of the New York Mets. Although these two tied him for the team lead, we have come to expect more from the human target.

As May began to wind town, Quentin began to heat up. His batting average climbed into the .200 range and he became more aggressive at the plate. That aggression has also equated to more opportunities to be hit by pitch. This became apparent during the last home stand against the Houston Astros when Quentin was struck on consecutive nights by Wandy Rodriguez and Dave Borkowski doubling his season total. Quentin was far from done though as four days later he was struck by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Geoff Geary on May 29 and Phillies starter Jamie Moyer hit Carlos the very next night bringing his 2007 total to 6. Carlos Quentin now has been hit double the next closest teammate. If he continues this torrid pace he will have been plunked 26 times this season. That would rank him in 29th place for single season. If he has any hopes of breaking that record he will need to crank it up a notch to eclipse Hughie Jennings record of being hit by 51 pitches during the 1896 season. My advice is to take a couple of Tylenol and lean in and take one for the team. If he does his part and keeps getting hit I’ll dedicate whatever time I have available to try and get him an endorsement deal with Band-Aid, Advil, or Bayer Aspirin. So come on Carlos, let’s get hit!

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