Mired on bench, Barmes trying to snap funk

Mired on bench, Barmes trying to snap funk

PHOENIX -- Rockies infielder Clint Barmes began Thursday night where he has begun every game since his past start on Sept. 5.

The bench is not the place to be for a player who started for the better part of the last three seasons and is headed into his first year of free agency this winter.

The 31-year-old Barmes, who has a .233 batting average, lost his starting job when the Rockies decided to go with the faster Eric Young Jr. in late August. Young has missed his previous three starts with a sore right shin, but the Rockies have gone with switch-hitting Jonathan Herrera instead of Barmes.

"I put everything I had into the whole season when I was playing, and I feel I definitely helped to get us to where we're at," Barmes said. "Obviously, I haven't done much in the last month or however long it's been. But I still feel I'm a part of the team.

"I'm not starting and I'm not playing as much as I was, for whatever reason. I'm not happy with that. But I'm just trying to make sure I'm prepared and I'm ready for any opportunity I get to help us."

Barmes had a 14-game hit streak during which he hit .386 from June 23 to July 7. He hit .313 in June and .271 in July. But he hit .132 in August and found himself being used mainly as a defensive replacement.

Barmes has tried many different approaches and stances while trying to become less streaky and less strikeout-prone. He has fanned 65 times against 35 walks (10 intentional) in 382 at-bats. Yet for much of the season, Barmes was as good as anyone on the team with runners in scoring position.

Barmes said he can get into trouble listening and thinking too much, but he believes he can succeed as an offensive player. His range makes him desirable defensively, and he can play shortstop as well.

"I said it last year, I was better than a .245 hitter," Barmes said. "This year I'm hitting .233. I don't believe I'm that type of hitter, but it's unfortunate where I'm at.

"I needed to come in this year and have a good year offensively. Obviously, I didn't swing the bat the way that I wanted to and ended up losing my job over it. That's part of the business. All I can do is continue to work and try to get better. I've made adjustments and learned a lot up until this point."

Of course, he'll have to make his argument in negotiations this winter. As of now, he is hoping for a chance to help his current club to the postseason.

"This isn't exactly the way I drew it up in Spring Training," Barmes said. "It's definitely not where I want to be sitting right now. But that's part of the game. This isn't my first time. I'm just trying to make sure that I'm ready for whatever they need whenever they need it."