MLB: As Cuddyer's hit streak grows, so does his beard

2013-07-02T00:00:00Z MLB: As Cuddyer's hit streak grows, so does his beardThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

DENVER - Michael Cuddyer's scruffy beard keeps sprouting more and more gray. It's becoming quite scratchy, too.

The Colorado Rockies outfielder wants so badly to take a razor to the whiskers, but that will just have to wait.

For the moment, he doesn't want to change anything since he's in such a groove at the plate.

With his single in the eighth on Sunday, Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to a team-record 27 games. It's the longest same-season streak in the majors since Atlanta's Dan Uggla hit in 33 straight two years ago.

Even more, Cuddyer has reached base safely in a franchise-best 46 straight contests. The last time he failed to get on base through a hit, walk or being plunked by a pitch was April 21, when a chill was still in the air.

Since then, there's really been no chilling his bat. Ask Cuddyer the reason for his recent scorching success at the plate, though, and he will just shrug.

"It's one day at a time, one at-bat at a time, one pitch at a time," said the 34-year-old Cuddyer, who will try to extend his streak today when the Rockies host the Dodgers in a three-game series.

That simple?

"Yep," he said. "Look, you're doing your homework, you're getting your work in. You're not going up there blind, like you do in a Little League game. You still have to put your work in to hit these guys.

"But this is definitely fun."

First-year manager Walt Weiss appreciates his slugger's patient approach in the batter's box.

"He's a very smart hitter," Weiss said. "He's very good at thinking along with the pitcher."

Especially now. Cuddyer is hitting .372 during the streak, bumping his average to .344, which is quite a bit higher than his career mark (.271).

"This is a good feeling," said Cuddyer, who broke hitting coach and former Rockies standout Dante Bichette's team-best hitting streak of 23 games.

Like many baseball players, Cuddyer is all about routine. A typical game day for Cuddyer starts with a quick bite to eat inside the clubhouse (but not necessarily the same meal).

After a visit to the hot tub, he heads for the cages to smack about 40 baseballs off a hitting tee in various positions of the strike zone. Then it's more hitting as he goes through round after round of batting practice. About 50 minutes prior to first pitch, he'll hit the hot tub again.

His streak started on May 28 with a double to center off Houston starter Jordan Lyles. From there, the hits just kept on falling for Cuddyer, usually early in games, too. More than half of the time he prolonged his streak on his first at-bat of the game.

On Sunday, Cuddyer waited a bit longer, lining a single in the eighth off reliever Sandy Rosario after going 0-for-3 against starter Madison Bumgarner.

"I squeaked one up the middle," Cuddyer explained.

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