Financially unable to make any big moves in the offseason prior to 2012, the Dodgers made a flurry of smaller moves, one of which was picking up veteran utilityman Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Hairston is a career journeyman, with the Dodgers being his ninth team in a 15-year big league career. Hairston was brought in to give the Dodgers infield added depth. Hairston has a versatile glove and can play virtually any position on the field. Hairston saw the majority of his playing time this season platooning at second base, third base, and in left field.
After proving to be a reliable and productive backup Hairston saw his season end in August after a strained hip forced him to the disabled list and led to subsequent surgery.
The Numbers: .273, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 19 R, .342 OBP, .729 OPS, 78 games played
Hairston was signed to be a backup player, and he filled that role admirably. That being said, Hairston’s numbers were nothing special, and were pretty much down across the board.
Although Hairston certainly would have continued to produce had he not missed the final seven weeks of the season. Hairston’s line of .273/.342/.729 was actually better than his career line of .259/.327/.700.
May 4 vs. Cubs – Hairston set the tone for the Dodgers offense against one of his former squads, going 3-for-4, falling only a double shy of the cycle. Hairston drove in two total runs in a 5-4 Dodgers loss.
May 27 vs. Astros – Starting at third base, Hairston went 5-for-5 with four singles and a double, driving in a run and scoring a run in a 5-1 Dodgers win over the Houston Astros. It was Hairston’s first five-hit game of his career.
June 7 vs. Phillies – Hairston went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs starting at second base in an 8-3 Dodgers win at Citizens Bank Park. Hairston drove in the first and the final Dodgers runs in the game.
June 9 vs. Mariners – Again starting at second base, Hairston had the biggest game of the year, going 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles, driving in five total runs in an 8-3 Dodgers drubbing of the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was a career-high for Hairston, and came a day after the Dodgers were no-hit by the Mariners.
July 7 vs. Giants – Hairston went 1-for-5 and started a fifth inning rally for the Dodgers driving in the tying run with a double off of the Giants’ Matt Cain in a 10-inning Dodgers victory.
After making $2.25 million in 2012, Hairston will make $3.75 million in 2013 in the second year of a 2-year deal. Hairston underwent successful surgery in September to repair a torn labrum in his hip. His recovery time could be anywhere from 3-6 months, so Hairston may or may not be ready for Spring Training.
However, Hairston should return to his role as super-utility man when healthy in 2013. Hairston is also probably the Dodgers’ best right-handed pinch hitter off the bench for the time being.
The 36-year old Hairston should continue to add depth to the Dodgers’ bench and a veteran presence in the lineup in 2013.