05/12/09 8:05 PM ET
Slow starts typical for Beltre
Mariners slugger hit first homer of 2009 on Saturday
By Jim Street / MLB.com
Adrian Beltre typically struggles in April and May, and 2009 has been no exception. Here are Beltre's stats during the first two months of each season of his career.
He has hit at least 20 home runs in six of the past seven seasons, settling for 19 in 2005, his first season with the Mariners."I am not a home run hitter," Beltre said, "and I usually get off to slow starts, but I don't know why. Normally, I just seem to struggle the first half of the season, and there have only been a couple of years that I got off to good starts." The first was in 2004, when Beltre hit seven home runs in April and five in May, finishing the season with a career-best 48 circuit clouts for the Dodgers. And last season, he hit five home runs in April and seven in May, finishing with 25 home runs. Beltre missed the final two weeks of the campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and also "clean out" his left shoulder. For the first time in two years, he reported to camp in good health, although he was held back to make sure he would be 100 percent healthy when the regular season started. The organization would not allow him to play in the World Baseball Classic. "A.B. has been trying to find a comfortable setup to where he can do some damage," hitting coach Alan Cockrell said. "Up to now, he just hasn't been comfortable. Why? It could be a lot of things, from a feeling in his hands, to his stance. "But he is a hard worker and a good listener. He will come out of this." The home run seemed to break the ice, and Beltre followed that up with two more hits in Sunday's series finale against the Twins, raising his batting average to a still unacceptable .234. "My average is real low, and I need to start getting that up," he said. "There are some days I feel OK, and other times I don't. I'm just not as consistent as I want to be. "It was different at the beginning of the season, because we were winning games. When we lose, like we have been doing lately, I feel I have to do more." Beltre said his thumb and shoulder are fine and once he finds the swing he's been searching for, "Everything will fall into place. I know the home runs are going to come and I expect to get into the 20s, but I'm not even thinking about hitting home runs."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.