The facts of life: Garrett's not hitting

If I can get this blog entry filed, it'll be a miracle. My Verizon wireless card doesn't seem to operate as efficiently once a cloud rolls past, so you can imagine what I'm dealing with on an overcast and rainy morning.

It took me 20 minutes to approve comments this morning because the system is moving so slowly. I'm ready to punch myself in the face out of frustration, though I don't think it will improve the situation or my luck with women.

Yesterday's game ended with Garrett Atkins grounding to short. That seemed appropriate, given the way he's hit this season. A disappointing day ended with another disappointing at-bat from the first baseman.

What will it take for the Orioles to start getting some production out of that position?

Garrett-Atkins_Away-Hitting.jpg

I'd settle for any signs of life.

Rhyne Hughes might have been a two-game wonder. We don't know, but he's no longer here to argue his case.

Atkins, signed as a free agent over the winter, is looking like the first base version of Rich Hill - a failed experiment, though a more costly one. Atkins cost $4.5 million. Hill cost a cherry Slurpee and a couple lottery tickets.

Atkins' average is down to .243 in 103 at-bats. He's driven in six runs. He still hasn't homered, though he only missed by a few feet Saturday night.

His double off the left-center field fence might have been his hardest-hit ball since he signed with the Orioles, and I'm including batting practice. It's just been an absolute grind so far.

Atkins has one RBI since April 17, and it came on May 11. That's it.

The Orioles thought they could fix Atkins. Now they're getting to the point where they must decide whether they've failed.

Is it too soon to move on, with the season only in the third week of May? Should they keep running him out there? Should Ty Wigginton get more starts at first, with Julio Lugo playing second until Brian Roberts returns (perhaps by June 9). Should Luke Scott make a few starts at first while he's hot? Should Boog Powell put down the barbeque sauce and grab a mitt?

Michael Aubrey isn't on the 40-man roster and we have no proof that he's ready for an extended stay in the majors. The first issue can be resolved, of course, by removing somebody else from the 40. Perhaps someone who plays the same position.

Again, is it too soon?

Aubrey didn't play yesterday, which always raises suspicions, but it was probably a routine day off.

Nolan Reimold started at first for the Tides yesterday and belted a two-run homer. It was his first hit since being optioned. I don't think that makes him deserving of a return.

Atkins has been in steady decline statistically over the last four years, but his drop in 2010 feels like an amusement park ride.

I began to wonder whether the Orioles were ready to drop him after manager Dave Trembley, asked yesterday about Atkins and the dead zone at first base, said he would "sleep on it and see where we're at."

That was it. Next question.

Atkins is a career .410 hitter in 39 at-bats against the Royals, who visit Camden Yards tonight. That includes a home run and eight RBIs. Maybe he breaks loose if given the chance.

The Orioles might be close to deciding whether he's run out of them.

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