January 7, 2010

Music to my ears

Robinson Cano's hitting struggles in 2008 didn't magically fix themselves. If you don't believe in magic, that credit belongs to hitting coach Kevin Long. And he's at it again this year.

Long has already spent time in the batting cage this offseason with Nick Swisher, who hit to the tune of .241 last season and .128 in the postseason.
"Swish is a fastball hitter, and in the playoffs, he got a steady diet of offspeed stuff," Long said. "They were able to throw them for strikes, and Swish's swing has a lot of movement to it. The new mechanics are going to control some of those movements and put him in a better position."
I already smell a turnaround from the lovable right fielder.

Next up this week for Long is Alex Rodriguez. Hip surgery this offseason could have slowed him up this year, but Dr. Marc Philippon gave him good news.
Long said there is no reason to expect that A-Rod won't hit the ground running in 2010, noting that the Yankees figured out how to tweak his rest regimen during a June series in Atlanta -- when he was hitting just .207 -- and reaped the rewards through the rest of the year.
Beautiful. But Long's not done yet.

Next week, he plans on spending time with newly acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson, who has had some series issues against left-handers in the past.
"He's obviously more productive against right-handed pitching," Long said. "My job is to try to get him to feel as comfortable as possible, without forcing it. I don't know what he's done in the past, but I'd really like to get a sense of his mentality against left-handed pitching."
Just imagine if Granderson improves his numbers against lefties a little bit. He's already crushing righties - and in Yankee Stadium - he could be in line for a huge year if Long can fix his Achilles' heel.

While you're reading this, I'll be at Madison Square Garden watching the Knicks, hopefully enjoying a blowout victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

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