Pirates, Raynor working to tweak swing
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even though John Raynor ended spring training stuck in a deep batting funk, he had a good feeling the Pirates would keep him on their 25-man roster.
Raynor had just one hit in his final 21 at-bats. His slump began about the time manager John Russell and hitting coach Don Long decided to tweak Raynor's mechanics by toning down his leg kick.
Raynor figured he would struggle for a while with the new batting style, but knew the change also meant the Pirates liked his potential.
"When they told me (about the change), it gave me confidence that they saw something in me," Raynor said. "They want the best for me and for this team."
A Rule 5 pick, Raynor must remain on the roster all season or be offered back to the Florida Marlins for $25,000. The Pirates like Raynor's outfield skills and speed.
"He's capable of playing major league-caliber defense now," general manager Neal Huntington said. "There's still some growth he has to do with his bat."
Raynor never used a leg kick until after he was drafted by the Marlins in 2006. He's a career .299 hitter in three-plus seasons in the minors.
"I've had a lot of success with the leg kick, but I'm with them 100 percent on toning it down a little bit," Raynor said.
Raynor's role with the Pirates this season will be as a pinch runner, fifth outfielder and rare pinch hitter. That's when a high leg kick could cause trouble.
"Coming off the bench, timing is one of your biggest enemies," Russell said. "If you've got a lot of movement in your swing, it's going to add to that.
"I'm not against leg kicks; actually, I used to teach them a lot. It's a way to get a guy to use his lower half a little quicker and be a little more efficient. But it will get a little too big most times, which is what his did."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates find a bridge at end of baseball world in Holdzkom
- Pirates’ 5-game winning streak ends with 1-0 loss to Brewers
- Stats speak: Sliders stand between Pirates, playoffs
- Saturday’s scouting report: Brewers at Pirates
- Sunday’s scouting report: Brewers at Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Morton scratched from Sunday’s start