Lopez returning to form

Lopez returning to form

ARLINGTON -- Third baseman Jose Lopez, who led the team with 96 RBIs and hit a career-high 25 home runs last season, says he's finally back to normal.

"Right now I feel like the same guy as last year," he said on Wednesday. "The first two months, I tried to do too much and put too much pressure on myself."

Lopez went into Wednesday night's game against the Rangers with a .273 batting average in June, compared to a .226 average in April and .240 in May. He had an 11-game hitting streak from May 23 through June 4, and two of his four home runs this season have been hit in the first eight days of this month.

"Last year I looked for one pitch and I hit it," he said. "I have been doing the same thing over the last few weeks, and I'm more relaxed, more comfortable."

Meanwhile, the position switch from second base to third base has gone smoothly.

"I tell everybody, 'I like playing third base,'" he said. "There is a lot more action there."

His .965 fielding percentage (six errors in 171 total chances) is considerably better than the player he replaced at third.

Adrian Beltre has committed 11 errors in 173 total chances with the Red Sox, a .936 percentage. But Beltre is batting .333 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.

Only six of the 27 Major League third baseman with at least 40 starts this season have a higher fielding percentage than Lopez.

"I am working hard to become a better third baseman," he said.