PHILADELPHIA -- Bryan LaHair isn’t afraid to think big, saying Monday that his productive first month as a regular in the major leagues has met his expectations.
The Chicago Cubs cleanup hitter entered the final day of April with a 1.197 OPS, better than any other regular first baseman in the major leagues. Not bad for a 29-year-old rookie who started the season with a back injury.
“I think it’s everything I did imagine and everything I did visualize,” LaHair said. “I focus on each at-bat and as long as I approach each at-bat like I do, good things happen for me. I’m excited about it.”
One thing he doesn’t want to do is to get caught up comparing himself to what other first basemen are doing.
“I don’t really look into that stuff too much,” he said. “It’s cool to know you’re up there with some of the best in the game but for me, winning is the most important thing and as long as I’m helping the team to win I’m giving my best effort every day that’s really the most important.”
Perhaps most impressive of all is that LaHair is still feeling the effects from his back injury, enough that it continues to wake up him up about every two hours throughout the night.
While the area of the original injury has healed, he still has damage in a nerve that runs the entire length of his right leg and into his foot. He was walking with an obvious limp Monday and said his right big toe is affected by a constant burning sensation.
“Once the nerve gets damaged it takes a while to regenerate; it’s usually the last thing that regenerates,” LaHair said. “I still have pain in my foot but it’s not something that will hold me back. It’s something that’s just annoying more than anything.”