Pridie tempering loss of Pagan
May, 7, 2011
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Jason Pridie delivers a three-run homer in the sixth inning off Hiroki Kuroda.
On a day when Pagan was in New York being examined by team doctors after a flare-up of pain in his strained left oblique, Pridie slugged a game-deciding three-run homer in the sixth inning off Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda as the Mets beat the Dodgers, 6-3.
"I've always said I have just enough power to be dangerous to myself," said Pridie, who was acquired with a reputation for solid outfield defense in a Feb. 9, 2010 waiver claim from the Minnesota Twins. "I know I can get them out of parks, but sometimes I get into a little bit of a home-run swing. It has hurt me in the past. But I'm able to hit them out when I get the opportunity, when I put good swings on them. Obviously in this first stint I've been getting some balls out and putting some good swings on them."
Pridie went deep for the third time in 37 at-bats since getting called up from Triple-A Buffalo.
Had Pagan been activated Saturday, as had originally been planned, the roster move would have been interesting. Pridie arguably had done enough to stay at the major league level, which might have made Willie Harris or Chin-lung Hu vulnerable to being a roster casualty.
Pagan had an MRI on Friday and is tender to the touch on his left side. He will return to Florida on Sunday, but will not be cleared to resume activities until he is pain-free, which means no imminent roster decision is required. (An organization insider said team officials were disappointed Pagan did not bring up the recurrence of pain until after playing in two full Florida State League games, since playing with discomfort jeopardized his return.)
"Obviously I love Angel," Pridie said. "Especially after what happened to me last year, I never want injuries on anybody. I can't control any roster moves or anything that happened. I was just looking to come out here and play. I didn't even know about any of that stuff until after the game. Being here, I'm feeling comfortable."
Pridie was referring to right hamstring woes that plagued him in 2010. He had three separate issues with the muscle, which prompted him to miss 103 of Buffalo's games.
This year, Pridie was hitting only .186 in 14 games with the Bisons when he was promoted.
"Honestly, there's not much difference," Pridie said, contrasting what was happing in the minors in April with his major league performance. "Just balls are dropping. ... Any time you're hitting as low as I was, it looks like you're not doing well. But I was hitting the ball decent."
Said manager Terry Collins, who oversaw the Mets' farm system last year: "He's one guy I saw play a lot last summer. So I was very familiar with what he could do. After watching him in Buffalo, I always felt he was, if not the best defensive outfielder in our system, in the top three for sure. So I knew he could play defense. And one of the things he showed is that he's got some power. He's one of those guys who his whole career everybody has told him he's got to bunt, he's got to hit the ball the other way. He's been a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Probably one of the reasons why he hasn't gotten to the major leagues is because he doesn't hit a lot of home runs, but he's a nice player."
As for the three-run homer off Kuroda, it gave the Mets a 5-3 lead in the sixth. It came with two outs and first base open after an intentional walk to Ike Davis.
"I'm not insulted, obviously," Pridie said. "I know when you've got Ike Davis at the plate and you see Jason Pridie behind him, odds are you're going to want to pitch to Jason Pridie. But when I saw him walk, I kind of got into that competitor mode and said to myself, 'I'm doing this. I'm getting a hit right here.' And I really kind of locked in. It spurs a little emotion in there. I want to do it. But I understand why. It didn't hurt my feelings, and obviously it worked out good for me and the team."