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07/02/09 4:00 PM ET
Eckstein making painful contribution
Latest rash of plunkings becoming trend for Friars veteran
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Getting hit with a pitch is never fun, though David Eckstein certainly had enough experience to know that it's never a personal thing and simply a part of the game. That doesn't make it hurt less, which the San Diego second baseman knows something about, having been hit seven times this season with pitches, including twice in this series against the Houston Astros. In fact, Padres pitcher Jake Peavy and his good friend, Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, talked earlier in the week about it, right after Oswalt plunked Eckstein with a pitch on Monday for the second time this season. "That's how I've got to pitch him," Oswalt told Peavy, a story relayed by Eckstein, who happens to stand close to the plate and understands the perils of doing so. The Astros have hit Eckstein four times this season. He's tied for third in the National League with Houston's Miguel Tejada. Chase Utley of the Phillies leads the league in being hit by a pitch (12). Eckstein has a history of getting plunked. He lead the American League in his first two seasons with the Angels in 2001 (21) and '02 (27) and has seven seasons where he has been hit at least 10 times. "I'm still right on top of the plate. I might have gotten out of the way more. That's one thing in St. Louis, they even said that they don't want me getting hit as much," Eckstein said. "But there's no adjustment made to not get hit as much." Eckstein, who took a ball off the top of the left shoulder when Houston's Brian Moehler hit him with a pitch, isn't just getting plunked in the arm or leg, though. He's been hit in the chest twice this season, both in May, by Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano with the Cubs. The Zambrano incident left him with a chest contusion, an incident that he said left him a little shaken. "Those were a little scary, I've never been hit in the chest before," Eckstein said. "But I know how they're going to try and pitch me."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.