The Bat Is Back

burrell giants.jpgPat Burrell returns to Citizens Bank Park tonight, and he will be doing everything he can to crush the Phillies’ playoff chances.

It wasn’t always that way.

We know Burrell, who has resurrected his career since he joined the San Francisco Giants in June, helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series. But he also helped the Phillies in the standings Aug. 6, when he hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning of a 3-2 victory over the Braves at Turner Field.

Burrell has maintained close ties with the Phillies. In fact, shortly after Burrell’s sacrifice fly won the game in Atlanta, Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger heard his phone buzzing next to his bed. Coppenbarger woke up and checked his phone to find a text message from Burrell:

“You’re welcome.”

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Coppenbarger handed out Burrell’s No. 5 to Mike Sweeney when he recently joined the team. It was the first time anybody had the number since Burrell left. Coppenbarger notified Burrell, who understood the situation. Sweeney has been in the big leagues since 1995. He had worn No. 29 most of his career, but Raul Ibanez obviously wears that here. Sweeney wore No. 5 in Oakland and Seattle, so that was the next option. 

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Burrell is hitting .285 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and a .905 OPS with the Giants. I’ve gotten plenty of questions from readers asking if the Phillies made a mistake not picking up Burrell when the Rays released him in May. I still don’t think they should have, and here is why: Burrell would not have played regularly with the Phillies like he is with the Giants. And if his disastrous season-plus with the Rays taught us anything, it is Burrell is not an effective hitter if he is not playing in the field. (He has acknowledged as much, including a story in today’s Inquirer.)

Here are Burrell’s career splits in the outfield vs. his career splits as a designated hitter and pinch-hitter:

Playing in the outfield: .260/.370/.490
Designated hitter: .209/.306/.348
Pinch-hitter: .200/.359/.340

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

11 Comments

I’m sure the Phillies fans will give Pat the Bat a nice hand when we comes to the plate the first time- I just hope he doesn’t return the favor like Jim Thome did in May!

What nice hand? are you kidding me. I will be at the game tonite and I will Booo the pants off him as he will not do what Thome did to us earliar in the year. Are cheers will not be used to juice him up to beat us. So my Boo-Bird Radar is on especially for him!!!

What nice hand? are you kidding me. I will be at the game tonite and I will Booo the pants off him as he will not do what Thome did to us earliar in the year. Are cheers will not be used to juice him up to beat us. So my Boo-Bird Radar is on especially for him!!!

Nice entry on Pat, Todd. No matter what he brings and contributes to the game tonight, it will still be great to see him at CBP again. Just hope he goes easy on the Phils. He is still missed by the Phils fans .Barb

“What nice hand? are you kidding me. I will be at the game tonite and I will Booo the pants off him as he will not do what Thome did to us earliar in the year. Are cheers will not be used to juice him up to beat us. So my Boo-Bird Radar is on especially for him!!!”

“Are cheers”
that says it all about this poster

Nice one, rjenkins. We need a decoder ring sometimes.

I hope invinciblelatin (whatever that means – probably another spelling error) choked on her warm beer when Pat cranked one over the left field fence. Boo all you want, it doesn’t matter what we think.

Personally, I miss Pat the Bat. I still root for him when he’s not playing the Phils and I hope he can one day get on the Wall of Fame.

erichh: Well, pretty much everybody on this current roster gets on “The Wall.” Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels… Burrell probably gets in before them, since he’ll probably retire sooner. Whatever.
He seems to have found new life without the burden of the DH.

If Daulton can get on the “The Wall” anyone can. It seems this entire endeavor is being driven by the need to find someone to induct every year rather than if the person chosen actually merits the honor.

pherris: What do you think the Baseball Hall of Fame is? It’s a Chamber of Commerce event for Cooperstown. How else to explain how guys like Jim Rice and Goose Gossage stay on the ballot for a decade, then suddenly are elected because there isn’t a more worthy candidate. God forbid they don’t put anyone in and the town goes in the sh**ter for a week.
It’s all about tourism and a big show for TV. Bereft of better candidates, they’ll put the next best guy in so they have a show. In 2011, you can bet a week’s pay that Bert Blyleven gets in. Why? Because he’s the best of a leftover lot. He’ll magically find that missing 1% of the vote that has been keeping him out.
I wouldn’t bet against a little “conspiracy” to give the Hall someone to elect, so they saved Blyleven for a down year like the one coming up.

With a lot of HOF candidates being from the so-called “Steroid Era” of MLB, there will be many more such players who played before that time who will be rewarded with election to the HOF.

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