After three-game break, Parra back in starting lineup
PHOENIX -- After being out of the lineup for three consecutive games for the first time this season, D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra returned to his starting role Saturday against the Mets, batting seventh and playing right field.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he gave Parra the rest in hopes the outfielder would come back feeling refreshed and with a clear head. The 26-year-old began the season hot, but he hit just .157 in July and was just 2-for-16 in August before his skipper decided to take action. Parra took the first step toward breaking out of his slump, going 2-for-4 in a 4-1 loss to the Mets.
"I think everyone gets worn down. Parra played a ton early in the year and he's always on the ground or in the wall or wherever," Gibson said. "He plays real hard, he's a max-effort guy and I think he got worn down a little bit. He'll tell you he wasn't tired, but beyond that, he was struggling. His approach wasn't as good at the plate."
Parra also began taking his struggles at the plate with him into the field, where he typically is as steady as any outfielder in the league. Back on Aug. 4 in Boston, Parra made a couple of defensive miscues in right field, dropping one ball and losing another in the sun.
"You haven't seen Gerardo Parra drop too many balls like that, so to me, you have to look at it," Gibson said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to give him a break."
Gibson is confident Parra will be able to return to the player who hit .301 through the first three months of the season, he just has to not be so hard on himself.
"He takes it personal when he doesn't perform well, because he plays his heart out and he wants to do good for his team," Gibson said. "We talked about it. Just needed to take some pressure off him."