If Orioles fans want to get on new first baseman Derrek Lee for his lack of production right now, get in line. Behind Lee himself. Several times this year he has already said he takes responsibility for his lack of hits and RBIs.
Batting just .209 in 18 games with one homer and two RBIs, Lee readily acknowledges he has to get his bat going. He has now gone 13 games without an RBI since he drove in two on April 6.
“Obviously I’m not swinging the bat like I would expect to. So yeah, hopefully it’s coming soon. I’ve had some bad starts before, so I know to be patient. I’m not going to start pressing too much, just let the game come to me,” he said.
Lee had gone eight straight games without an extra-base hit until his double in the eighth last night. He is 0-for-12 on the year when batting with runners in scoring position.
Some have wondered if Lee has lost some bat speed and if that could be a problem for him right now, but he doesn’t see it that way.
“I feel it’s more of a timing issue. I just feel like I’m a little late right now. It’s from my approach. I don’t think it’s from batspeed. So hopefully I can get my approach and my grip in sync and go from there,” Lee said.
After playing over 1,800 major league games, Lee has been through tough starts and slumps before. But he doesn’t have any set formula or system he uses to try and get out of one.
“I haven’t found the magic formula, that’s for sure,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t be in the slump if I found that. But I know for me a lot of it’s the timing of my leg kick. Hopefully I’ll just get more at-bats and find my way.
“I think at this point I have enough at-bats, so I can’t put it on spring training. I’m just not swinging the bat the way I want to. I’ve gotten good pitches to hit and popped a lot of them up, fouled a lot of them back. So I just think it’s my timing and hopefully I can get there really quick.
“I try not to overdo it in the cage, but I’ve got to put my time in. It’s kind of a fine line just getting in there too much and tinkering too much. Then you start thinking a lot and you don’t want to overthink it. So I think the main thing is just continue to work on my timing and make it transfer over into the game.”
While some fans are getting down on him, Lee is not getting down on himself.
“I don’t lose confidence in myself. I know what I’m capable of. I separate defense and offense. One has nothing to do with the other. I’m just going to keep grinding, keep working hard and it’ll come.
If Buck Showalter decides one possible solution is to drop Lee in the order, he can work with that just fine, too.
“He’s the manager. Wherever he puts me in the lineup, I just go out there and play. I don’t worry about that stuff,” Lee said.