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06/04/08 10:15 PM ET

Gerut leading off, taking off at the plate

Outfielder's hot play sends Giles to bolster middle of lineup

SAN DIEGO -- Jody Gerut's approach hasn't changed, though his numbers have.

A switch to the leadoff spot on May 10 against the Colorado Rockies signaled a major improvement in production for the San Diego Padres' 30-year-old outfielder.

Not that he really sees it that way.

"I'm not doing anything different," Gerut said. "It's just the normal ebbs and flows of the season."

Gerut's batting average has been on the rise since he was recalled from Triple-A Portland on May 9. With his .256 average, he is now fourth on the team in hitting among players with at least 90 at-bats. Over his last eight games, he's hitting .367 (11-for-30).

"I'm not sure," Gerut said about whether the switch to the leadoff spot had an impact on his improvement. "I don't know if it would have been any different. I just take it as leading off an inning."

Gerut has walked five times in the last two games against the Cubs, a good sign for a club's leadoff hitter.

His play has allowed Brian Giles to move into the three-hole to team up with Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff in trying to provide some power and pop to the 3-4-5 spots in the lineup.

Since May 10, Giles is hitting .330 (30-91).

Gerut's production seems natural for the way he approaches the game. But according to him, that approach has not changed. Just his place in the order.

"You have to adjust like anything else," Gerut said. "This game is full of adjustments. You just hope that your approach is where you don't have to change too much. I'm just happy to be playing."

Gerut wasn't in the lineup for Wednesday's final game of the Padres' home series with the Cubs. But he'll still be ready.

"A day off just means for the first six innings," he said.

Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.