Baker puts Stubbs' struggles in perspective

Baker puts Stubbs' struggles in perspective

CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a ninth-inning single Friday, but he was still batting only .174 with 30 strikeouts in 97 at-bats entering Saturday. Reds manager Dusty Baker was armed with printouts about former players that also had trouble hitting after their rookie seasons.

"I pulled some stats and was checking it out [because] we were talking about Stubbs," Baker said.

Baker pointed out that Mark McGwire batted .201 in 1991, his sixth big league season. There was a sheet on Ozzie Smith, who batted .211, .230 and .222 over his second through fourth seasons. Reds great Dave Concepcion batted .205 in his sophomore season and .209 his third year.

"In today's world, they would not have been patient about that," Baker said. "Mike Schmidt hit .196 in 132 games [in 1973, his second season]."

Especially because Stubbs is so fast on the bases and strong defensively, Baker is prepared to give him time to get his hitting together. Stubbs was dropped from the leadoff spot to seventh on Friday and batted there again on Saturday.

"I'm willing to give rope because I know what's there," Baker said. "I'm known to give rope. I'm criticized for giving rope. You just don't get it out of everybody at the same rate or the same pace."