Denorfia thriving in outfield platoon

Denorfia thriving in outfield platoon

Denorfia thriving in outfield platoon
DENVER -- Chris Denorfia calls it a platoon. Padres manager Bud Black stops short of acknowledging it as such. Call it what you will, but the combination of right-handed hitting Denorfia and lefty Will Venable in the outfield has resulted in a combined .321 (17-for-53) average with two home runs and six RBIs through the season's first 12 games.

"They're two solid Major League outfielders," Black said before Wednesday's rubber match with the Rockies. "If you pick out periods of the season, they're really, really productive. Dino won a game for us already this year with a two-run homer off [Arizona's David] Hernandez late in the game. His four hits were a bright offensive star for us last night, even though it was a loss. And Will can do a lot of things to win a game. He can win a game with his defense. He can win a game with his legs. He's got some power."

Denorfia's 4-for-4 Tuesday night included three hits off Jamie Moyer, accounting for half the hits Moyer allowed.

"I tried really hard not to swing at borderline pitches early in the count, just to be really selective and wait for a mistake," Denorfia said. "I don't think I really got any mistakes. He was living on the corners. He did a really great job of that last night. I was able to get a couple pitches I could handle with two strikes, but he definitely was able to limit damage last night."

Denorfia, 31, is hitting .409 through in eight games this season, and though he acknowledges being a little older and wiser in his seventh big league season and attributes some success to some mechanical tweaks that put him in a better position to hit, the biggest difference so far may be his enthusiastic acceptance of his role on the club.

"I sort of embraced it and focused on being the best fourth outfielder I can be, instead of trying to always get in the starting lineup," Denorfio said. "It's not to say I wouldn't love to play every day, but if I focus on that, my head's way out of the game."

As testament to Black's notion that it's not a straight platoon, both Venable and Denorfia were in the lineup against righty Juan Nicasio Wednesday, as Cameron Maybin got a break and Black rode Denorfia's hot bat another night.