07/10/08 7:58 PM ET
DeJesus thriving with men on base
Royals outfielder leads AL in batting average with RISP
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Regardless, the Royals' outfielder is leading the American League in batting average with runners in scoring position, with a .459 (28-for-61, good for 39 RBIs) clip entering Thursday's game. DeJesus has a big lead over second-place Ian Kinsler of Texas, who was at .403 entering Thursday.
The matter was brought to DeJesus' attention, quite innocently of course, as he emerged from a session in the batting cage on Thursday.
"You're jinxing me right now!" he exclaimed. "Why are we doing this? Why are we jinxing this? We can't jinx this!"
Being a young gentleman, DeJesus did offer some comments, however.
He said that when he comes to the plate with runners at second or third base, he doesn't do anything differently than he would in any other at-bat.
"I just think the same thing," he said. "Just hit a pitch I can do something with. I don't try to do too much.
"Not try to hump up and get psyched up like, 'Oh, I need to get these runners in,' rather than have the same approach you're going with the whole game."
With such an impressive RISP average, you might think that manager Trey Hillman would want to experiment a bit more with DeJesus, his leadoff batter, in the No. 3 lineup spot. He has hit there four times this season, but when Hillman dropped Alex Gordon from the 3-hole for Thursday night's game against the White Sox, he put Mark Grudzielanek in the No. 3 spot for the first time.
What about DeJesus as No. 3?
"In order to do that, we've got to put somebody in that No. 1 slot that he vacates," Hillman said. "I think that complicates the problem."
Joey Gathright, the Royals' sometime center fielder, has batted leadoff 20 times this year, but his batting average is just .250 and his on-base percentage is a modest .302. When he is in the lineup, Gathright mostly bats ninth.
Hillman also doesn't want to move DeJesus out of the No. 1 spot, where he is obviously in a comfort zone.
"If we had more production out of somebody else that we felt comfortable with in the No. 1 slot, [DeJesus] might be our overall best No. 3 hitter, numbers-wise," Hillman said.
DeJesus' take on talk about him being No. 3?
"Nice," he said, but added: "It doesn't matter to me. If I'm in the starting lineup, that's most important."
By the way, DeJesus' average without runners in scoring position is just .267 (62-for-232). What about that?
"That's one thing you can't explain," he said. "I can't really give you anything on that."
Ouch, it's another one of those darn numbers.
"I don't look at stats, to be honest with you," he said. "I don't like talking about it, either. I definitely don't."
So this might be the last you hear about this, from DeJesus anyway. Especially if we jinxed him.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.