As they saying goes, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. For Angelo Gumbs, the rain has been something of a blessing.
The Yankees prospect reeled off hits in eight consecutive at-bats, a streak that ended in the ninth inning of Class A Charleston's 5-2 triumph at Greensboro on Friday.
The recent surge came after Gumbs killed time during rain delays in the batting cage, where he's refocused his approach on hitting to the opposite field.
"We've just had three days of rain delays and one of our games got canceled, the other two didn't even start, so that's given me time to rest a litle bit and really get in tune with my swing," said Gumbs, the Yankees' top second base prospect. "That's all I was doing every day. And these at-bats, it really comes from my batting practice. I'm focused on hitting the other way and all my hits today were to right field."
Gumbs, who's raised his average to .275, singled in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings before striking out in the eighth to end the streak. A 2010 second-round pick, he doubled in his final at-bat Wednesday, then went 3-for-3 in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Grasshoppers. That set up Gumbs' best stretch since collecting 13 hits over five games to earn South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors in mid-May.
The Torrance, Calif., native said his performance the past few days has been even better than his run last May.
"I feel like I'm locked in more than I was a few weeks back," he said. "I felt that natural swing, I'm putting that swing on the ball, trying to hit it hard every time."
The stormy weather also made for a memorable moment earlier this week in Charleston, when the RiverDogs' "Director of Fun" and co-owner Bill Murray, ran the bases atop a slippery tarp during a rain delay. Murray, the star of "Caddyshack" and "Lost in Translation," finished the faux home run trot by sliding head-first into home.
Guess who gave him the idea?
"I was the one that told him to get down," Gumbs chuckled. "I was like, 'Get down, get down!' just before he came into home. It was awesome, I'm not gonna lie."
Murray, who called himself safe at the end of the run, dodged a few kick balls while rounding the bases. Gumbs was on the top step of the RiverDogs' dugout, the first to greet the veteran actor.
"He asked us if we could roll a ball to him and he put the ball down and kicked it," Gumbs said. "It was pretty funny."
So Gumbs didn't exactly spend every moment of the rain delays in the cage. But the numbers speak for themselves.
"I'm just trying to find my natural swing. It started off taking my approach to right-center and reacting on that fastball," he said, paraphrasing an approach that has worked for Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for two decades. "It helps me hit the breaking ball, too -- I had two hits these past two games off sliders."
Gumbs also has the luxury of hitting in a lineup brimming with the organization's best young talent. Gary Sanchez (No. 3), Mason Williams (No. 4), Dante Bichette Jr. (No. 8) and Cito Culver (No. 9) all rank among the Yankees' top offensive prospects and hit ahead of Gumbs, who is ranked 16th in the system.
"It's one of those things where you're comfortable and we're fortunate to have a good team. We have a pretty good team, I believe everyone on our team can be a three-hitter," he said. "Everyone does what they have to do. I'm comfortable batting behind those guys or ahead of them, but no matter where you put me, I still have a job to do."
Charleston picked up the win behind five shutout innings from Evan Rutckyj. Sanchez, MLB.com's No. 44 overall prospect, homered for the third time in four games.