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June 26, 2011

Lee hopes he's finally found right rhythm with swing

Even though Derrek Lee belted a three-run home run in the fourth inning Sunday that helped the Orioles win a series for the first time in five tries, and even though it was his second home run of the series, the first baseman wasn't interested having a nice, relaxed, easy afternoon before a rare day off.

After the game ended, Lee headed straight to the weight room for a quick workout, and when he popped into the clubhouse 30 minutes after the game was over, his face was dripping with sweat.

He was one of the last Orioles to leave Camden Yards, and when you couple that with his recent hot stretch at the plate, it's a scene that might serve as proof that all his hard work in recent weeks is starting to pay off.

"I've just been really working on my swing," Lee said. "I really haven't had it all year. It's getting better. I've been trying to stay consistent with it. I just need to keep working at it. Hopefully, I'll find that rhythm and keep it."

In his past nine games, Lee has gone 15-of-40 (.375) with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs. And while he hasn't quite returned to the form he showed in 2009, when he hit .306 with 35 home runs, 111 RBIs and had a .972 OPS, he's feeling a bit more like himself. Especially after hitting two home runs in the last three games.

"It felt good," Lee said of his three-run homer. "I've really struggled driving in runs this year. For what reason, I don't know. So it felt good to get three at one time."

Lee isn't afraid to acknowledge he has been trying a number of different things this year. He knows he's at the age (35) at which he can't rely on raw ability anymore.

"You know, baseball's a game of adjustments," Lee said. "Even the best hitters are always adjusting. I know I have to make adjustments now. I'm know I'm not as young, or as quick. It forces you to have to adjust. Even when your swing is going great, you're still making minor adjustments. I guess that's the great thing about this game is that you've never got it completely figured out."

Posted by Kevin Van Valkenburg at 5:54 PM | | Comments (7)


First I'd like to say, "Now that's what I'm talk'in 'bout, Derek". In the gym after the game. Now that's how you turn things around!!
My question is: Which other Orioles were in the gym with Lee after the game? Because I can now see where some of this team's problem stems. You mean to tell me that Pie, Andino, & Markakis were NOT in that gym pushing weights with him? Do they believe their production acceptable and conducive to winning? I like what Markakis is doing but he's a RF. We need to see those power numbers increase dramatically If we're to win against Bos, TB, Tor, & NY.

Very good point dspedden.....who exactly is in the gym with Lee?
I would love to know what guys are putting in the extra work......
What I really want to know is who the he'll is the leader of the pitching staff. Matuz and Tillman, are just a couple of guys that are having a less then acceptable year, but who is the go to guy that the pitchers rally around......who is the lighting rod for the pitching staff.
The second half of the year is really going to be interesting. Lots of questions......could be very interesting. Reynolds also might have more errors then strike outs!!!

One thing is for really is all about pitching.

"You mean to tell me that Pie, Andino, & Markakis were NOT in that gym pushing weights with him?"

Markakis is one of the hardest workers on the team, if not the hardest... and I don't think you can really fault Pie for his effort either - he just makes boneheaded decisions on the field.

I don't think that it's any coincidence that Lee, Reynolds and Hardy are haing this recent success against National League teams. They still have to do it against the Sox, Yankees and Rays.

But you have to feel good about Markakis coming around.

Derrek Lee showed really quick hands getting to that inside pitch yesterday. Hit it a ton and kept it way fair. Palmer called it a "mistake pitch" later in the game but he's wrong about that . The pitch was on the inside black.
If Lee is truly that good it will be a joy to watch him the rest of the season.

It's good to see Hardy, Jones & Wieters having good seasons. Very nice to see Lee coming around and Reynolds hitting.

Too bad the pitching staff is a shambles. Teams go as far as their pitching carries them. Tillman, Bergesen and Matusz have greatly disappointed, and now Arrieta has an elbow issue.

The Braves staff was once described as "Spahn and Sain and 2 days of rain." The O's now have Guthrie and Britton and might as well be quittin'.

Welcome back derrek. I knew you wasn't done . Your a young 34or35 . I truley love your glove . Keep up the good work . Hope you want to come back next year .
Curt S.S. Md

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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