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Navarro puzzled by defensive shift

April 9, 2014, 8:51 AM

Here’s a little oddity for you: the New York Yankees and Houston Astros played Dioner Navarro pretty much straight away when he’s hitting from the left side, but put a defensive shift on him when he bats from the right side.

I asked him if he’s seen that before and he replied: “That’s the first time. I was confused. I guess they’re going off what the charts say, but it kind of caught me off guard when the Yankees did it and now the Astros are doing it. That doesn’t change my approach, I still hit the ball to the left side (on his RBI double batting right-handed in the fourth), but if it was a fastball I would have hit it the other way.”

Last year with the Chicago Cubs, Navarro pulled the ball 24 times, went up the middle 27 times and went opposite field five times when putting the ball in play from the right side. For his career batting right-handed, those numbers are 184 pull, 309 up the middle, 81 opposite field.

The Blue Jays got creative with their lefty lineup in a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros but their batting order remains a moving target.

Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan are getting split in the rotation.

Melky Cabrera’s career high for home runs in a season is 18 but with four already through eight games, it’s not unrealistic to think that he’ll top that this year.

“I thought when we signed him last year he had a chance to hit some runs here, he’s hit them before,” said manager John Gibbons. “He’s not known as a home run hitter, but it’s a perfect place for it. He and Jose (Bautista) keep going back and forth, a little bit of competition there.”

Both Cabrera and Bautista, who trained together over the winter, have four home runs so far.

Top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts as the double-A New Hampshire Fisher-Cats fell 6-5 to Reading. He left the game with a 3-2 lead. Centre-fielder Kenny Wilson hit a three-run shot in that one.

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