BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues have gotten spotty production from their offense in recent games, but the return of Lorenzo Arcuri could help put those struggles behind them.
The senior out of Youngstown State missed four days after getting sick, but made his triumphant return to the lineup Tuesday, picking up three hits and an RBI as well as scoring two runs in the Blues’ 7-3 home win over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.
“Lorenzo Arcuri had a big night,” Blues manager Pat Riley said. “He was due for one. For him to come out of the gate, first game out after getting over an illness, is a very encouraging sign.”
Getting the bat on the ball with some power has not been an issue for Arcuri this season, but recently, placing the ball has been. While he has been making solid contact, the hits have not been there.
Arcuri got off to a hot start this summer, picking up five hits in his first three games and batted .333. All of a sudden, the hits dried up. Through his next 32 at-bats over the course of eight games, he had just four hits, constantly hitting at opposing fielders or striking out, as he did nine times over the span.
“The past couple weeks or so he’s been hitting the ball hard,” Riley said. “[Tuesday] he really broke out a little bit.”
The Blues have been getting a bump in offense recently from a few individual players, such as Arcuri and Frankie Gregoire, who recently hit the first grand slam in Bristol Blues history on his way to a five-RBI night. While much of the credit goes to the players, Arcuri shed a bit of light on another reason why some of the Blues’ bats have been lighting up of late.
“We came out the other day just absolutely crushing it and I think it’s because he got a new hitting coach and he’s awesome,” Arcuri said. “I think he’s really gotten to the hitters and I really think it’s going to be good for us. The last few games, the offense exploded, so I really think that’s good.”
Arcuri’s coming-out party of sorts Tuesday was further accentuated by the manner in which he got his hits. Two of his three hits were triples, and according to Riley, his first one would not have been a triple for almost anyone else.
“He’s got great speed too,” Riley said. “His first triple, that’s not a triple for a lot of guys, which kind of might be overlooked.”
Speed is one of the main tools in Arcuri’s arsenal and this summer’s struggles have so far restricted the impact he can have with his legs. But with Tuesday’s production and another hit on Wednesday to give him four in his first two games back, he is hoping his speed can become more of a factor going forward.
“Any time that I can leg something out it’s what I try to do,” Arcuri said. “I try to be a gap-to-gap type of guy and runs things out. It hasn’t really happened yet, for the most part, this season but hopefully I can get it going.”
The Blues are happy to have Arcuri back in the lineup and it does not hurt he has gotten off to a tear equaling the one he had to start the season. Riley and the rest of the team are hoping he can keep it up because he has the potential to be an invaluable asset as the Blues try to claw back into first place in the West Division.
“It creates depth in our lineup, obviously,” Riley said. “He’s a weapon. He showed what he is capable of doing: runs well, plays a good outfield. We’re going to need him.”