Evan Longoria’s career as a Giant hasn’t exactly started off with a bang. Among regular starters, Longoria’s .406 OPS is the lowest on the club through nine games, as are his .125 batting average and on-base percentage. In 32 plate appearances, Longoria has 11 strikeouts and just four hits.
Less than 10 games into the season, it’s far too early to take these early struggles with anything more than a grain of salt. Longoria is a three-time All-Star after all, and his 11-year track record would suggest that his rough start in San Francisco is nothing but a blip on the radar.
That’s what Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper believes, and he told Paul McCaffrey and Ryan Covey on Tuesday that Longoria should be given at least a couple months to acclimate before fans start getting worried.
“I think if you don’t give a veteran at least a couple of months, then you are doing an injustice to him, and maybe even more than that,” Kuiper said. “Look, I had a year in the big leagues where I had a great rookie year and I got to the All-Star break and I was hitting .160, and thank god the Indians hung in there with me because I ended up hitting .265, which really means the second half you have to hit close to .330 or so. The point is you can hit the skids for awhile and you just have to really be patient.”
Complicating matters, however, is the apparent improvement of Longoria’s backup, Pablo Sandoval. If Longoria continues to struggle while the Panda continues to have good at-bats, it’s not something the Giants will ignore.
“The hard part is with Longoria, is that you’ve got a guy that can play 3rd, that looks like he’s swinging the bat pretty well in Pablo Sandoval,” Kuiper said. “And this is not an organization where they’re playing just to get to .500. They’re playing to get to the postseason. So they will, as they should be, be patient with Longoria, but they will at least keep an eye on at least getting Sandoval some at bats.
“Longoria’s history is too good to think that he’s not going to come out of this, and I think his at-bats have been a little better.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Kuiper on Longoria, start from 7:45.