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A Glimpse, If Not a Return, of the Shawn Green of Old
2004-08-22 09:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Taking a brief moment away from the Adrian Beltre Euphoria Tour for a nod to the fact that with nine games remaining before September, Shawn Green has eight home runs in a month for the first time since hitting 10 in August 2002.

When I wrote that "The Shawn Green of Old Will Not Return" 10 months ago, the gist of the article was that the condition of Green's shoulder would prevent him from being the home run hitter that he had been. It was emphatically not that his career was over, but that flareups of his condition would mute his home run swing.

Though I didn't use specific numbers, my suspicion was that not only was Green's last 40-homer season behind him, so was his last 30-homer season.

Green had long been a streaky hitter, and might well continue to be one - but streaks would now be harder to come by. And, in fact, no Green streak has been harder to come by than the current one.

April 5-August 6: 401 AB, 14 HR
August 7-August 21: 54 AB, 8 HR

We can celebrate the current streak even as we retain skepticism about what Green will do over the long haul.

At the same time, to be fair to Green and to you, I can't say the current run hasn't given me pause. Can he keep this streak going? Can he get to the next one this year and not next?

The decision to move Beltre to the cleanup spot in place of Green needs no further validation. The decision to keep Green somewhere in the lineup needs no validation either. And for all the problems the Dodgers have had in August in the bullpen, at catcher and in their ambivalence about using Hee Seop Choi, they are winning, and they have picked up a power bat where perhaps they had given up hope for one.

Beltre and Green have 17 home runs in August. Perhaps you'd rather have Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, but that's a considerable 4-5 punch.

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