Parra lacking consistency Rockies expected

Outfielder is confident his numbers will improve soon

Parra lacking consistency Rockies expected

SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies are waiting for the consistency they sought when they signed outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million contract. Parra said Saturday, "It's coming."

Through the Rockies' 4-3 loss to the Padres on Saturday night, Parra is tied for the National League lead in doubles (19) with the Padres' Jon Jay and the Pirates' Gregory Polanco. But after a maddening 0-for-4 night that saw him hit into two double plays -- both highlighted by strong plays from Padres shortstop Alexei Ramirez -- Parra's .281 on-base percentage is 45 points below his career number coming into the season. According to baseball-reference.com, going into Saturday, Parra's rate of productive outs in situations where they were needed was 21 percent, after ranging from 35-53 percent in past years.

But Parra, 29, understands there is plenty of time for a turnaround.

"It's a long season, and I'm trying to just put the ball in play," Parra said. "That's baseball. Right now I don't feel 100 percent [in terms of efficiency and comfort level] at home plate. I feel, like, 80 percent. But I'm just trying to do something to help us win. That's the big point."

Parra noted that pitchers are attacking him in the strike zone and taking advantage of his swing inconsistencies. His hitting sessions are based on hitting to the middle of the field in hopes of combating a creeping tendency to open too quickly and weakly pull balls.

Parra bats in the 5 and 6 spots in the order, so when the potent heart of the order is on base the team needs good at-bats from him. Parra's inconsistencies are in many ways tied to the Rockies' up-and-down run production.

"It seems like he's going to get locked in, then he'll have a tough time," Weiss said. "I'm very confident he's going to have a nice year and do all the things we brought him in to do. It's been a little spotty at times.

"He's one of the keys. I don't disagree with that. Lately he's gotten a little fast in the box, gotten a little jumpy. He had a couple of games at home where he slowed things down and looked like he was in control of the at-bat."

Parra said until the production comes, he can continue to bring energy and enjoyment -- something that can go missing when a team is struggling like the Rockies.

"Oh, it's coming -- maybe tonight," Parra said before a game that saw his struggles continue. "My body feels good. And I'm playing every day, so I have opportunities to feel better.

"Right now, the big point is to enjoy baseball. When everybody's thinking, 'I want the big hit. I want this RBI,' there's too much pressure. Just enjoy baseball, be happy. I'm enjoying it. I enjoy this team. And things can change any day."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.