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Smiles all around: Taking in the Dodgers' new Juan Uribe

May 28, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Juan Uribe is batting a respectable .278, a dramatic improvement over his .199 average with the Dodgers the last two seasons.
Juan Uribe is batting a respectable .278, a dramatic improvement over his… (Seth Wenig / Associated…)

Juan Uribe.

Come on, that doesn’t make you smile just a little?

He’s a wonder, at least if you’d been watching him the previous two seasons and are now struggling to take in a fairly stunning turnaround.

Uribe was the target of ridicule the last two years. Over his anemic hitting, his roundish physique and $21-million contract. Not to mention guessing when the Dodgers would finally cut bait.

Yet here he is, not only surviving but actually playing pretty well -- even fantastic compared with  expectations.

Uribe, 33, is batting a respectable .278, a dramatic improvement over his .199 average with the Dodgers the last two seasons. He has a .404 slugging percentage, or 142 percentage points higher than he averaged for the Dodgers the last two seasons. And he has a .389 on-base percentage (15 walks in 95 plate appearances), a whopping 100 points higher. If he maintains that, it would be a career-high by 76 points.

Juan Uribe, our very own round mound of rebound.

He went three for three Monday and is on a five-game hitting streak. He has doubled in his last four games. He still swings like his mission is to separate the ball’s leather at the seams, still looks like he appreciates a fine meal.

But the player who drove most fans into a red-faced tizzy for two seasons is now a nice part-time player. Given the struggles of Luis Cruz at third, a rather valuable one.

Who can’t smile at that?

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