He’s got some wheels’: Stolen base highlights monster month for Pirates slugger Rowdy Tellez

The Pittsburgh Pirates were cracking jokes in the dugout at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday during the first inning when they witnessed Rowdy Tellez steal second base without being challenged by Cincinnati Reds starter Hunter Greene.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound first baseman swiped a bag for the first time since September 8, 2022, and only the fourth time in his seven-year major league career.

Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds deadpanned, saying, “He’s got some wheels on him, that’s for sure.” Yasmani Grandal, the catcher, joked, “If Rowdy can do it, then I’m going to go,” according to starting pitcher Mitch Keller. “I don’t think I had that going into the game,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said on the SportsNet Pittsburgh postgame broadcast.

In the span of a month, Tellez’s batting average increased by 51 points in just 17 games, resulting in a remarkable turnaround from a lightning rod to a light on his feet. Tellez had his sixth multi-hit game of June, going 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored in the 9-5 victory over the Reds. This month, Tellez has a slash line of.352/.407/.500 with five doubles, a home run, and eleven RBIs.

Reynolds is cutting in contrast.In June, he hit.360/.418/.663 during an MLB-best 22-game streak.

Tellez, who is now batting, said, “I always think I’m one good week away from having a good season right now.228. We discuss the things that really got me moving, which have been a few small hits over the past three weeks. Sometimes all you need is for something to fall into your lap and go your way.

Tellez’s bad start has been met with a lot of criticism from fans, particularly after Tellez called out the PNC Park crowd for jeering when two-time All-Star closer David Bednar let up four runs in the ninth inning of a blowout loss to the Detroit Tigers on April 9.

Tellez remarked, “Yeah, it’s inviting, but it can mess with you trying to go deep every time.” “Maybe that was something I picked up on subconsciously early in the season. What got me into problems at the beginning of the year was trying to pull the ball. as well as lacking faith in my hitting prowess. Being a good hitter, making hard contact with the ball when it’s in play, and hitting the barrel as frequently as possible are our only goals.

Tellez made the decision to return to his strengths after experimenting with everything from his stance to his swing. His main goal was to remain inside the ball, hit it hard, and try to drive it into the bullpen.

The pivotal moment occurred on June 8, during a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins, when Tellez launched a 403-foot home run to center field, his first since March 31. A home crowd erupted in a standing ovation, calling for a curtain call and chanting his first name.

“What the fan base was doing was justified,” declared Tellez, who in December agreed to a $3.2 million, one-year contract. “I wasn’t performing well. Every time I get up to the plate, I can see why you’re not doing well in front of a supportive fan base—you’re a free agent. I understand. Being a pro involves doing that. You need to handle it.

That was a big mindset change,” Tellez said, “but having them behind me was pretty special.”

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