LOS ANGELES -- For a guy who didn't hit a home run in his first college season, Josh Rutledge sure has done a heck of a job hitting the long ball in his first season in the big leagues.
Rutledge hit .369 in 61 games as a freshman at the University of Alabama in 2008 but didn't record a home run. In his first 21 Major League games, he has six, including four in a four-game stretch July 29-Aug. 2.
The 23-year-old says that though his stance has changed a bit, his swing is largely the same as it was during that homerless campaign at Alabama. The difference, he thinks, is the strength he now has behind it.
"Every year I feel like I've been getting a lot stronger in the weight room," Rutledge said. "Each year after [my freshman year] I've been tapping into my power. It still surprises me a little bit sometimes to have the success I've had so far."
Coors Field might have a little to do with it, too.
"I'm sure it does [help] for some of them. But I'm just trying to hit doubles and stuff in the gap," Rutledge said. "Coors just happens to be a nice park to hit at where it travels better, so that could be a part of the success."
Although he says he's sometimes surprised by how much power he's shown so far in his short big league career, Rutledge isn't about to let a homer-happy mentality distract him from doing the things that earned him a callup from Double-A Tulsa earlier this year.
"I'm not going to try to do too much," Rutledge said. "We've got other guys in the lineup that are supposed to drive guys in and hit home runs. I'm not trying to do that, I'm just trying get on base for them."