This spring, Brett Gardner has been hitting with both hands. Instead of finishing with only his right hand on the bat, he’s been gripping with both hands throughout the swing.
“It’s something I’ve never done before as far back as I can remember, because I’ve been too worried about getting out of the box,” he said. “Trying to drop the bat and get out of the box, sometimes I would take both hands off the bat too early, and my bat would fly around and hit the catcher. I’ve had to apologize to catchers and umpires. This could slow me down by a tenth of a second getting out of the box, but ultimately, if it leads to me being more consistent at the plate, that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Kind of like Jeter and his new no-stride mechanics, Gardner had talked to Kevin Long about becoming a two-handed hitter in the past, but just decided to put that plan into action this winter. He eliminated his own stride in the minor leagues, making him quicker to the ball, and he thinks keeping both hands on the bat will make him more consistent. The early results are pretty promising.
“It’s something I’ve talked about with K-Long before, something I’ve thought about for a long time,” Gardner said. “This offseason, after I had my surgery, I was kind of miserable because I couldn’t hit for six or seven weeks until the end of January. Christmas rolled around, New Year’s rolled around, and I still wasn’t able to hit and work on the things I wanted to work on. I wasn’t able to bunt or work on my swing, so I just started thinking about things — things I’ve talked to K-Long about in the past.
“I just started playing with it. I didn’t have a bat in my hands, but I started playing with it and decided to try and switch it up like that. I thought it would help me be more consistent, so we’ll see.”
Associated Press photo