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Laird stays hot, leads Minors in RBIs
Infielder homers twice, matches career high by plating seven
06/24/2010 7:22 PM ET
Brandon Laird leads all of professional baseball with 76 RBIs.
Brandon Laird leads all of professional baseball with 76 RBIs. (Bodhi Hill/MiLB.com)
Brandon Laird homerd twice and drove in seven runs on Thursday, but it was hardly a groundbreaking day for the third baseman.

The 22-year-old Yankees prospect hit a grand slam and a three-run homer, matching a career high with seven RBIs as the Double-A Trenton Thunder crushed the Erie SeaWolves, 11-2.

"It felt good," Laird said. "Before the last few games I was in a little funk, so I didn't want to think about it too much, just get back to it. Today I just got two pitches to hit."

Laird leads all of professional baseball with 76 RBIs, 10 more than Royals' Double-A prospect Mike Moustakas and 16 more than Major League leader Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.

He admitted he was aware of the stat, but isn't putting much significance on it. Of course, few superstitious hitters would care to even acknowledge such a thing in the midst of a big hot streak.

"I know about it," he said, "but I try not to think about it. I want to keep doing what I'm doing and keep it going. It's pretty exciting."

The younger brother of Detroit catcher Gerald Laird, he managed the same feat a little over a month ago when he followed a three-run shot with a grand slam in Trenton's 13-7 win over Binghamton on May 16.

"You know, the last few days I've seeing the ball a little better than have been," he said. "My approach has been good, I'm not doing too much, and I have to give a lot of credit to the guys getting on base ahead of me."

The seven-RBI outburst came less than a day after Trenton teammates Daniel Brewer, Austin Krum and Austin Romine hit back-to-back-to-back homers in a 12-7 victory over Erie.

"That was pretty cool to see," Laird said.

Laird's 76 RBIs through 71 games is already more than he totaled in 124 games last season at Class A Advanced Tampa, where he hit .266 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs. He attributed the success to his reduced approach at the plate.

"I'm just not trying to do too much, I'm taking what I get, what they give me," he said.

The Yankees have shown a willingness to call upon their young Minor League talent of late, with Chad Huffman, Colin Curtis, Juan Miranda and Kevin Russo all making contributions this season after beginning the season in the Minors. At this rate, an injury, or at the very least, a September audition could help Laird join his brother in the Majors.

"I just want to stay with the consistent and stay with the approach," Laird said. "It's better than last year. The ball flies a little better up here [in the Northeast], it's not as humid as Florida."

The third baseman was seeing the ball well this week before his huge afternoon, having hit safely and driven in seven runs in his previous four games. He has seven hits and 14 RBIs in his last five starts.

The Cypress Community College product homered on consecutive days June 19-20 against Binghamton and knocked in two runs in each of his previous two starts against Erie. He's hitting .293 with 18 homers on the year.

Laird's big game comes exactly 24 years to the day that another Double-A slugger and former Yankee, Jose Canseco, drove in nine runs -- a Southern League record -- for Huntsville.

"I just came up in big situations," Laird said. "And I put a good swing on the ball."

Laird's heroics overshadowed another stellar performance on the mound from Thunder starter Hector Noesi, who was selected to the 2010 All-Star Futures Game earlier this week. Noesi struck out 10 and held Erie to a pair of runs over seven innings to pick up his fourth win.

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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