ST. LOUIS -- Sources of the Giants' recent success are numerous, but any list of contributors must include infielder Juan Uribe. Entering Wednesday, the Giants were 21-14 in games Uribe started, an occurrence which became more common in mid-May. "I really felt like when he became an everyday guy, that's when our offense started picking up," hitting coach Carney Lansford said of Uribe, whose .290 batting average ranks fourth on the team. "I always feel like something good can happen when he goes up there."
The Giants coveted Uribe, 30, for his versatility. He has started at each infield position except first base. Though he has received most of his activity at third base (24 starts), he occupied second base for the third game in a row Wednesday. "That's why I came here, to play where the team needs me," said Uribe, who played for Colorado (2001-03) and the Chicago White Sox (2004-08) before signing a one-year, $1 million contract on Jan. 29. Uribe's power potential also intrigued the Giants. He hit 20 or more home runs three times between 2004-07 with the White Sox. Though he had just two homers in 145 at-bats before Wednesday, his most recent long ball traveled an estimated 421 feet in Monday night's series opener. "He's so darned strong," Lansford said. Uribe's flirtation with the .300 level is a mild surprise, given his .253 lifetime average entering the season. He batted exactly .300 in 72 games as a rookie with Colorado in 2001, but hit .253 or less in all but one of his following seasons. Uribe attributed his proficiency to increased patience, which wasn't reflected by the five walks he drew in 152 plate appearances before Wednesday. "I'm thinking more [about hitting pitches] up the middle," he said. As much as Uribe's approach has boosted his statistics, improved numbers aren't his goal. "When the team wins, nobody cares about what you're hitting," he said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.