A quote from Gary Matthews, Jr., batting .344 at AAA, from Sunday’s Louisville Courier-Journal:

“It’s just a matter of at-bats,” he said. “I just didn’t play enough in New York. I think I got 56 at-bats and that’s just not enough. I feel great. I came here to get some at-bats.”

Found on Redleg Nation from June 24, 2010:

“We’ll give him the opportunity to play center field, play every day and see what he can do,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “In the past, he showed that if he plays a lot, he’s a better player. He hasn’t had that opportunity with the Angels or Mets the last couple of years.”

I guess the 837 plate appearances the previous two years with the Angels with the OPS figures of .675 and .697 weren’t enough, or I suppose that’s adequate production.

As for Matthews’ Met plate appearances, it was 65 plate appearances and 58 at bats. He was hitting .190 with a .507 OPS. Chris Heisey has 69 plate appearances and 58 at bats with the Reds thus far this year and is batting .276 with an OPS of .929. Paul Janish has 56 plate appearances and 46 at bats and is batting .217 with a .693 OPS. Orlando Cabrera has 343 plate appearances, 316 at bats, and is hitting .247 with a .620 OPS. I wonder how much better those guys (Cabrera excepted) would be with as many chances as Matthews has had: 4617 career plate appearances. Drew Stubbs has 300 plate appearances, 266 at bats, and is batting .233 with a .687 OPS. I would be careful on the bases, Mr. Heisey, and I would be very careful in the outfield and with the K’s, Mr. Stubbs.

Oh, wait…I “missed” that Matthews is the one who needs more plate appearances to play better. I suppose the other guys don’t; they’re just expected to produce in a “pinch.”

That’s the hint….they don’t think Matthews can be a role player, and if you read the comments above from Matthews and Jocketty, I believe you’ll find a commonality of cause. That is, the comments sure seem to mirror each other as to what expectations had been set from both parties. (As for Dusty Baker‘s historical record, click this link for an independent evaluation of Baker’s managerial career.)