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Dodgers spring training 2013: Juan Uribe 'more quiet, more relaxed' at plate

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Uribe had four hits Friday night, producing the results that manager Don Mattingly has been hinting at for most of the spring.

Norm Hall

Lost in the shuffle of Friday night's Yasiel Puig-fest was Juan Uribe collecting four hits for the Dodgers in their win over the Royals. It was a night that produced results similar to what manager Don Mattingly has been saying for most of the spring.

"For us he's been hitting the ball solid. We've seen it in BP, we've seen it in games, even when he doesn't get hits," Mattingly said. "He gets a couple today, one gets in the lights and one was a swinging bunt, but he's kind of earned those with line outs. Those even out a little bit, so it was a good night for him."

After Friday, Uribe is hitting .345/.367/.552 (10-for-29) in Cactus League play, with just three strikeouts in 30 plate appearances.

"I worked a lot this year in the Dominican on my swing," Uribe said. "I don't want to try to pull too much, I wait for the ball. I'm trying to look more in the middle. When you look in the middle, you can hit the ball more to right field."

That strategy was tried by Uribe in 2012 as well, but he hit just .191/.258/.294 with two home runs in 66 games. He said last season he developed a bad habit of lunging forward with his left foot during his swing, sapping his power. This year, he has kept his feet in the same position, with his weight on his back foot.

"I don't want to move too much. I want to see the ball," Uribe said. "My body is more quiet, more relaxed."

Friday was Uribe's sixth start of the spring at first base, a position he has taken to quite nicely to go along with playing the other three infield positions as well.

"He made some athletic plays at first too. He has such a good feel for the game," Mattingly said. "He's always good in the field. There's really never been a downfall in the field at all."