Doumit's power drop a head-scratcher

Doumit's power drop a head-scratcher

HOUSTON -- Ryan Doumit didn't finish 2009 with particularly overwhelming power numbers, though there was a reasonable explanation. Not only did the right wrist surgery cost the catcher almost half of the season, but it had sapped some of the strength in his wrist when Doumit returned in July.

So when Doumit entered 2010 fully recovered from that surgery, the expectation was that his power numbers would jump -- at least a little. Yet to this point, they've gone in the other direction.

Doumit entered Thursday with seven home runs in 252 at-bats this season, an average of one homer every 36 at-bats. In Doumit's 235 at-bats after his wrist injury last year, he went deep eight times. That averages out to once every 29 at-bats.

Even Andrew McCutchen, not one advertised for his power, has as many home runs this season as Doumit through the team's first 84 games.

"The main thing with Ryan is staying consistent in his approach," manager John Russell said. "He has a tendency to chase and be a little overaggressive. When he's within himself, he starts to drive the ball.

"I guess we have to define how much power we think he's going to have. Is he a 20-30 home run guy? Or does he hit 10-15? I think he's going to hit home runs. It's in there. He's one of those streaky home run hitters who hits them in bunches."

As Doumit's career progresses, it's becoming more apparent that while he is always a threat to go deep, that may not be his particular calling card. Including his seasons in the Minors, Doumit has hit more than 10 homers only twice in 11 seasons. He hit 18 combined between Triple-A Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in 2005. He had 15 in 116 games with Pittsburgh in '08.

Russell had one other potential explanation for Doumit's lack of power to this point, pointing to the pressure he's carried as a main cog in an offense that has struggled to score runs.

"He's probably gotten away from himself a little bit trying to do too much," Russell said. "We'll see how it goes. If we have this conversation in another month or so, hopefully we'll start seeing more home runs."