Robinson Cano's batting average broke .200 for the first time since the season opener in dramatic fashion going 4-4 in yesterday's game. In general Cano's average has been improving since the beginning of May. He has batted .350 since the start of May after closing April with a .151 average. What has changed? Apparently a minor mechanical flaw was found that has solved the problem. Kevin Long, the batting coach explains the issue:
"I was sitting there watching hours of video, trying to dissect his swing." Explained Long, the Yankees batting coach. "Everything seemed in place. I mean he was having great at bats, but had nothing to show for it. Then one evening I'm watching his swing and bam! The problem was so obvious."
"I was holding the bat upside down." Said Cano with an embarrased smile on his face. "I was swinging with the barrel and making contact with the handle. I'd hit it pretty hard, but its like a fungo bat. Its either a ground ball, or a pop fly."
After Kevin Long made the suggestion to hold the bat upright earlier in the month, Cano's batting average has vastly improved.
"Look, I have big hands. The barrel of the bat feels just like a handle to me. I couldn't tell the difference. I'm really glad Long made this suggestion. There's no telling how long I would have been swinging like that before I figured it out." Explained Cano.
"When your player is slumping at the plate, you look for obvious mechanical flaws. Maybe they're not turning their hips enough, or swinging with their arms too much. Sometimes you have to preach patience because they start chasing balls out of the strike zone. This one was so obvious, it took us a month to figure it out." Said Long.
"Its a shame it took us so long to figure it out, but it does make his pinch-hit homerun that much more impressive." Said Yankee skipper Joe Girardi.
To assure that this does not happen again, Long has suggested that Cano write a "This Side Up" note on the barrel of the bat, but Cano feels he's past the issue. Video footage of last season shows he started the season with the same problem, only last season Cano corrected it himself.
"I think I got." Said Cano.