Dioner Navarro enjoys a ‘surreal’ power surge
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 29, 2013 9:12PM
Updated: July 2, 2013 7:20AM
When his bat pin-wheeled out of his hands, eight rows deep behind the Cubs’ dugout in the sixth inning Wednesday, Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro stalled for time as he got a new one from the batboy.
“I wanted that bat back,” said Navarro, who is just superstitious enough to think there might be more in that stick of wood than the two home runs he already had hit.
He never got a chance to find out in the sixth, even after eventually getting the bat back from the crowd. But after drawing a walk in that at-bat, he drove a 2-0 pitch in the seventh over the right-field patio seats onto Sheffield for the biggest day of his career as the Cubs routed the White Sox for the second time in three days, 9-3.
The biggest power surge for a Cubs catcher in nearly 40 years included two right-handed home runs to left, the left-handed monster shot to right and six runs batted in.
Three home runs in a game?
“I hit two one time in Little League,” he said. “I’ve never done that in my life. It’s so surreal.’
Navarro, who already showed a knack for power drama with a pair of pinch-hit home runs earlier this season, suddenly ranks second on the club to Anthony Rizzo (10) with six homers, in just 58 at-bats.
“You [project that over] 500 or 600 at-bats, that’s a pretty nice year,” said manager Dale Sveum, who said Navarro will be back in his usual spot, on the bench, Thursday.
“[Welington] Castillo’s our starting catcher. Let’s not get carried away with a guy having a great game. Castillo’s done a nice job and he can do a lot of things, especially guys with great stuff who can be a little tougher to catch sometimes.”
Navarro, the first Cubs’ catcher with three homers since George Mitterwald in 1974, will settle happily for his moment in Crosstown Series history, his first career curtain call and night of celebration at the Blackhawks game Wednesday night.
“Like I said all along since spring training, I’m here to help [Castillo] out and he’s here to help me out,” Navarro said. “We know what it is. I’m really happy in the position I’m in.”