Matthews making his point

It was a serious and determined Gary Matthews Jr. who arrived early in camp this spring. After undergoing knee surgery on Oct. 28, he’d worked diligently to regain leg strength and expressed confidence that he’d be ready to play sooner than the club imagined.

He wasn’t kidding around.

In right field on Wednesday against the White Sox after playing center on Tuesday against the Padres, Matthews unloaded against Gavin Floyd in the fourth, an inning after Chone Figgins had launched a two-run bomb.

Matthews’ solo blast, his first of the spring, carried at least 420 feet, way beyond the 380 marker in right center. On Tuesday, manager Mike Scioscia expressed amazement over how well Matthews was running — “as well as ever,” the skipper said. Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with Matthews’ power either.

The early projection was for Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu to share left field and the designated hitter role, but Matthews, if he keeps this up, might force some serious reevaluations by Scioscia and his staff.

 

1 Comment

I’m not too sure what can be made of “serious reevaluations”, with the continued success of Matthews going into the season. In terms of LF, here you have two newly signed guys who by all rights expect to play their fair share, given they’re performing. Then you have Torii entrenched at CF, and Vlad at RF, leaving Matthews 5th on the OF depth chart. I imagine when Vlad DHs then Abreu plays RF, as well as switching off with Rivera in LF. It seems to me that the best thing going for Matthews right now is his natural CF ability, which essentially puts him 2nd on the depth chart for that position, and 3rd at the corner OF positions. Either way you slice it, Matthews will not be playing every day, unless any one of our OFs encounters injury or lack of performance. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, being that Matthews has stated his case quite clearly….he doesn’t want to sit. If he performs at a level that draws attention, I think he’ll be forcing more than just a reevaluation. And I’m thinking more in terms of offense, but his defensive abilities should, and will, no doubt be taken into consideration. With Rivera waiting his turn patiently and finally getting there, and Matthews working so incredibly hard to make his way back, this could potentially turn into a bit of a sensitive issue.

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