Beltre struggling to find '04 form

Updated: May 31, 2005, 11:13 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
April and May have been wonderfully productive months for New York's Alex Rodriguez, both on and off the field. He saved a child's life in Boston by pulling the little guy out of the path of a speeding truck, added a national TV spot or two to his portfolio, and gained a few fans from the Oprah demographic by sharing his philosophy of better living through therapy.

Throw in a major-league high 17 homers and 49 RBI, and even those notoriously demanding Yankees fans can overlook his .211 batting average after the seventh inning.

But the first two months have been considerably tougher on some of A-Rod's third base peers, whose feeble early numbers have put a new twist on the phrase "hot corner."

For the sake of fairness, let's dispense with the notion that every major-league player whose production has slipped this year is "off the juice," and focus instead on the baseball particulars. Here are six of A-Rod's third-base counterparts who are still laboring to find that elusively blissful state commonly known as being "in the zone."

Hot corner? Some of these guys would settle for room temperature.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer