Dodgers’ Uribe Quiets Skeptics with Solid Season

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West is just seven as they lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by 12 games with just 18 to play.

Early this season Juan Uribe was an unwanted man. Fans wanted him released or shipped out. They called his acquisition a bust, a gamble that went bad.

Uribe had been signed for $21 million for three years and was hitting so poorly it was difficult to stomach when he came to the plate.

In his first full season with Los Angeles, he hit .204 and in his second a dismal .191, hitting two home runs and knocking in 17 runs. He eventually was benched for Luis Cruz who played nearly his entire career in the minors.

With new owners, who had loads of money to spend, it seemed only a short time before Los Angeles cut him loss.

That never came to fruition and now Uribe is playing hero for the Dodgers, just the way he helped the Giants to their first title.

On Monday, he hit three home runs in the Los Angeles 8-1 win over Arizona. This season he has raised his average to .279. Uribe has hit 10 home runs and has knocked in 44 runs thus far with just 18 games left.

Manager Don Mattingly says the one great thing about Uribe is he always a great defender and that makes him so valuable to the club.

Mattingly said he admired Uribe for the way he conducted himself last season when Cruz took over his spot in the lineup and played so well becoming the darling of Los Angeles.

Uribe’s manager said that is when everyone saw what a good teammate he was and he earned a great deal of respect from everyone inside the clubhouse.

During his first season with Los Angeles, Uribe suffered a hip flexor injury and missed 75 games. Last season he missed over a month with an injury to his wrist. This spring he came to camp with determination and in good shape.

He worked out the entire winter at home in the Dominican Republic but started this season on the bench behind Cruz.

However, when Cruz started to falter, Uribe started to play more often and soon earned the starting job again. His play defensively at third base has even had some people suggesting he could win a Gold Glove, or at least should.

On a team with stars such as Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and rookie Yasiel Puig, it is easy to overlook Uribe and what he has done for the Dodgers this season. However, manager Mattingly knows how much the infielder has meant in their turnaround this season and how important his defense will be come October.

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