Last month in spring training James Loney admits, “Over the last two years I’ve tinkered too much, maybe, and changed too many things,” and that he finally understands who he is as a hitter.
When asked if he could be on the verge of a major breakthrough, he replies, “I do, You have this feeling deep down inside.”
Fast Forward to today, the Dodgers are six games into the season and James Loney is still searching for his first hit through 16 at-bats. Loney has started in 4 of the 6 games, but still remains hitless with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Hardly the “breakthrough” everyone was expecting…or were we?
Manager Don Mattingly remains confident in Loney, “To me his at-bats have been OK. He’s hit some balls on the nose. He’s not crushing balls into the gap or anything, [but] he’s hit some balls square. At this point I’m OK with James.” He’s also OK with sitting Loney twice in 6 games.
I have to agree with Mattingly though. It’s far to early in the season to give up on Loney. However, while Loney is working on his ‘breakthrough’, others are producing in the minors.
In Albuquerque (AAA) Scott Van Slyke must have received Matt Kemps ‘BeastMode’ memo. He’s off to a great start hitting .407 AVG, 3 HR, 8 RBI, with 3 BB and 2 K. He’s a big boy and some say he has slow bat speed, which might be an issue with Major league pitching.
Regardless, If Loney doesn’t turn things around soon, we might just see Scott Van Slyke earlier than expected.