About two weeks ago, the Yankees started seeing a lot of breaking balls. They had been hitting a home run, then they started facing curveball pitchers like Gavin Floyd, and the lineup began seeing a steady dose of soft offspeed pitches.
Alex Rodriguez’s recent struggles might have developed one curveball at a time.
“He started getting a little bit out in front, started getting some breaking balls,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “We talked about this: Subconsciously, what you do is you get bigger with your leg kick because that obviously is going to make you wait on the ball. Bad move. You want to stay consistent with your leg kick, make sure you let the ball travel without actually raising it up.”
Since April 26, the day Floyd carved through the Yankees lineup for eight innings, Rodriguez has hit .170/.204/.191. Just three days earlier he’d gone 2-for-5 with a home run. When Rodriguez got to the stadium in Arlington yesterday, he was almost immediately with Long, in front of a computer screen, watching video of spring training and the first few weeks of the season.
“I always tell him, ‘You’re quick to make adjustments,’ and this one for some reason took a little bit longer,” Long said. “… He’s a click away from being really, really hot again. Today was a huge step in the right direction. I told him if he continues to do what he did today, it’s going to turn around pretty quickly.”
Throughout this road trip, Rodriguez never seemed especially concerned. It was clear that he was working on things, but two weeks wasn’t enough to make him panic.
“I was happy with all my swings (Sunday),” Rodriguez said. “I wish I’d get three or four hits, but the bottom line is we won a game. Overall, my balance was good, my strike zone control was good, and if I do that, there’s going to be a lot of damage.”
Here’s Long speaking after yesterday’s game. He talked mostly about Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, but he touched on Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson and the offense as a whole.