Ball players don’t like making excuses.
Jason Kubel had one at the ready. He just chose not to use it.
The Arizona Diamondbacks starting left fielder suffered a strained left quadriceps in a game at Milwaukee the first week of the season.
He tried to play through it but ultimately landed on the disabled list April 13.
The injury cost him 14 games.
It’s been eight weeks since his return, and Kubel is just now feeling like himself again, especially at the plate.
“When you’re out there searching and cheating it just doesn’t work out,” he said, “so you got to find a comfort zone where you feel strong and balanced and then you get better results.”
Since the calendar flipped to June, Kubel is hitting .327 (18-for-55) with three doubles, one home run and 11 RBI in 17 games, raising his batting average 36 points, from a season-low .231 to .267. His five hits, including the walk-off two-run single Saturday, against the Reds tied for the most he’s had in a series this year.
According to manager Kirk Gibson, Kubel is displaying better bat speed, which has allowed for better at-bats.
“When guys are struggling you see them kind of try to manufacture swing velocity,” Gibson said. “(Miguel Montero) is doing the same thing. You just kind of see the front shoulder is not really leaking first, not jumping at the ball. They’re trusting themselves. They’re much calmer downstairs.
“(Kubel) hit 30 home runs for us last year. That means something to us.”
Again, for Kubel, it’s good to be healthy.
“It’s part of it, yeah,” he said. “It was my back leg. It was my left leg and that’s where I generate most of my power. When you don’t have your knee or your quad or your back leg, you can’t really drive too much. You’re kind of struck straight up, off balance. It doesn’t work out too good.
“I finally feel like I have both legs under me. I feel like I’m starting to use them now. I’m hoping it stays that way.”