It’s hard to read or watch anything baseball-related these days without seeing something about Justin Upton’s remarkable April.
The former D-backs outfielder has clubbed 12 home runs in his first month as an Atlanta Brave, three more than anyone else in the big leagues. He’s one of the main reasons that the Braves are 16-9 — the best record in the National League.
The Diamondbacks got a lot in return in that January trade, yet the only player involved that’s currently in the Major Leagues is struggling.
Martin Prado is still getting his feet wet in Arizona, but hasn’t produced at the level many expected of him when the deal was made. Entering Tuesday night’s game against San Francisco, Prado is hitting just .216 and has an on-base percentage of .267.
But manager Kirk Gibson thinks the veteran is on the verge of turning things around.
“I think it’s less mechanical and probably a little more of him pressing,” Gibson told Burns & Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 620. “I know he’s going to come out of it and the impressive thing is he’s went through this little situation here, he’s been one of the better teammates you could ever have on your team.
“He doesn’t pout, his attitude is great, he’s never out of the game, you don’t see him walk down to the end of the bench and put his head down — he’s right there where everybody goes out, he’s engaged, he’s talking, he’ll play any position and plays them well, he runs hard on the bases. We won the game the other night and (he was) the first guy on the field on the walk-off. He’s been great.”
On the subject of Prado pressing, Gibson doesn’t think Upton’s Herculean start has anything to do with it.
“I don’t. I think it wouldn’t matter who he got traded for. I think he’s a perfectionist, he wants to do well, he has high expectations,” he said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself, that’s just the way he is.”
After sitting out Sunday’s series finale against Colorado, Prado was back in the lineup Monday night, going 2-for-5 with a solo home run against the Giants. He had been 1-for -18 (.056) in his previous four contests.
According to Gibson, Prado has been working overtime in the cages trying to correct his issues at the plate.
“He wants to work his way out of it and I did talk to him about it — I thought that he needed to cut his work load in half,” the skipper said. “I just think that’s his demeanor, his nature and I can understand it, I was similar.
“In many cases, you try harder, but sometimes less is more.”