D-backs see opponents put shift on Kubel

D-backs see opponents put shift on Kubel

D-backs see opponents put shift on Kubel
NEW YORK -- When D-backs outfielder Jason Kubel stepped into the batter's box Friday night, the Mets put on a defensive shift more extreme than any Kubel has seen thus far in 2012.

Not only did the shortstop swing around to second base, he backed up into shallow center at one point.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was asked how he would like Kubel to deal with the shift.

"Whatever he feels comfortable doing," Gibson said. "I don't want it to influence him. I don't want him to do something he's not equipped to do. I just believe that you just stay who you are."

Teams regularly put shifts on former Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche, and it was suggested to LaRoche that he just simply lay down a bunt to the left side or hit one on the ground that way.

"He said, 'I've tried, I can't do it,'" Gibson said.

Oddly enough, Kubel does hit the ball the opposite way a fair amount of time, but spray charts indicate that when he does go the other way, it's in the air not on the ground.

Gibson recalled a time when he was playing for the Tigers, and the Royals put a shift on for him, and he bunted to third for a base hit.

When he eventually got around to third base, George Brett told him he could bunt all day if he wanted to, because it meant he wasn't going to hit the ball out of the park or into the gaps.

On the defensive side of things, the D-backs do not shift on many players, unless the data is overwhelming -- such as the case with Phillies first baseman Jim Thome.