PITTSBURGH -- Manuel Margot recognizes he's not going to outsmart most pitchers. He knows it's nearly impossible to anticipate a pitcher's next pitch. So he just tries to battle during every at-bat, and then capitalize when a pitcher does make a mistake.
"I always go up there trying to get the most out of every at-bat," Margot said. "What you always have to do is look for a pitch, look for a mistake, look for an error that they make in the zone, and make the most out of that mistake."
Recently, he's done that more often than not. The reigning National League Player of the Week continued to stay hot at the plate, going 2-for-5 in Friday's 10-6 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. In the seventh, Margot drove an elevated fastball into the left-field bleachers for his ninth home run.
"I think Manny does a great job of grinding out every at-bat," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He doesn't get too high. He doesn't get too low. He just shows up every day and plays baseball. That type of demeanor is going to be successful in the long run."
Margot is hitting .280/.318/.433 in his first full season, but has been raking since the July 20 birth of his son, Diamond. In the 11 games since becoming a father, Margot is hitting .400 with four home runs and a triple.
His manager calls it "dad strength," and Margot believes becoming a father has factored in to his recent production at the plate. It makes it easier to remain positive during at at-bats, Margot said, as he is hoping to pounce on a mistake.
"I think for me that family is the most important thing in the world. When you bring somebody into this world, then there is nothing like it," Margot said. "I think it's inevitable at that point that everything changes and everything is positive. I think that has helped me."
Matt Szczur gave the Padres a scare when he was hit in the right forearm by a pitch from Juan Nicasio in the eighth inning Friday. Szczur said his arm went numb after the hit, so he immediately received X-rays. Green said Saturday the X-rays were negative and that Szczur is available to play.
"We will find how much activity he gets through in batting practice [Saturday] to determine in what capacity we use him," Green said. "He can definitely pinch-run, he definitely can defend the field. We will just see if he is ready to hit today. … He's tough a guy so if he can play through pain he's going to do it."
Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.