OAKLAND, Calif. — Ben Zobrist is still sputtering a bit, failing to produce as a No. 3 hitter typically should with a .266 average, 13 RBIs and nary a home run through 29 games.
But manager Joe Maddon insisted it was just the chance for rest when he left Zobrist out of Friday's lineup, not a sign of any pending change. "Just a day," Maddon said. "Just an absolute day."
Zobrist, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and singled, said he feels he's improving in adjusting to the steady flow of off-speed pitches he's seeing and trying to cut down on chasing ones out of the strike zone, though his on-base percentage is also down, .336 compared with last year's team-best .405.
"It's definitely getting better with me adjusting to what the pitchers are doing to me," he said.
As much as he'd rather play, he said he has learned not to quibble when Maddon sits him.
"I definitely take these days and really try to give my brain a rest," he said.
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.