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All about a leg kick (but not Jeter’s)

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Podcast on May 09, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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.

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79 Responses to “All about a leg kick (but not Jeter’s)”

  1. Niblick May 9th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    A perennial all-star, MVP type, sure-thing Hall of Famer (but for his steroid use), stops hitting simply beacuse he faces one good curveball pitcher?

    I don’t buy that for a second.

    Maybe A-rod should remove some of whatever he keeps in his cheeks; he might be able to see the ball a little better.

  2. randy l. May 9th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    so pitchers can really mess up the timing of hitters who use leg kicks by changing speeds. good to know for catchers

  3. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I didn’t notice it before this photo, but I think ARod’s hitting troubles may have been due to wielding a bat that still had its packing materials on it. Surprised he didn’t notice it.

  4. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    All timing mechanisms are subject to constant adjustment. It’s not much of a shock that a steady stream of junkball pitchers would cause you to start jumping ahead of pitches a little bit.

    It’s mostly because A-Rod is SO good he is constantly adjusting. Will be nice to see him go back to raking.

  5. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I didn’t notice it before this photo, but I think ARod’s hitting troubles may have been due to wielding a bat that still had its packing materials on it. Surprised he didn’t notice it.

    :x

  6. upstate kate May 9th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Alex used up all his hits in ST!!! Sorry, someone had to say it!

  7. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    It?s mostly because A-Rod is SO good he is constantly adjusting. Will be nice to see him go back to raking.

    *******************************

    Yes, that will be very nice. :)

  8. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    BTW–I owned one of the first ORIGINAL Elston Howard (red) Batting Doughnuts from back around 1968 (IIRC). Of course, my folks threw it out years later before eBay. I probably could have sold it and bought dozens of new donuts (Dunkin Donuts that is).

  9. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    teixeiramark25 On my way into NYC for the Robin Hood Foundation dinner tonight. Great organization that helps so many causes, including Harlem RBI!

  10. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    JF–A fwe days ago you called Grandy one of top 3 CFers. Curious…who are your top 5? In ranked order??

  11. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Grandy, Victorino, Rios, Chris Young, maybe… Kemp’s bat?

  12. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Kemp, Rasmus, and Granderson but not in any order. I think I’d put Kemp 1st if his defense last year was an aberration and Granderson if not. Granderson with a 40 Hr pace and his good range in center and great P/PA might be the best CFer in baseball.

  13. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Interesting factoid for the day:

    Elston Howard, long-time C for the Yankees, invented the batting doughnut, officially called “Elston Howard’s On-Deck Bat Weight.” The patent was issued in 1967, his 13th and second-to-last season as a ML player. The on-deck hitter places the metal ring around the barrel of the bat to add weight and make the bat feel lighter when he steps into the box. The first club to buy Howard’s invention was the St. Louis Cardinals. The device quickly caught on and ended the habit of players swinging two and three bats in the on deck circle. Howard and his backers failed to make the expected windfall on their invention because the bat companies made their own, flooding the market. Howard and company didn’t have the money to fight the patent infringement in court.

    __________
    Source: http://members.cox.net/bngolde.....irsts1.htm

  14. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Kemp, Rasmus, Grandy, Vickie, and then IMO Sizemoe (I expect a comeback big time this year).

    Someday, I would hope to see BJ Upton reach this list too.

  15. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Grandy, Victorino, Rios, Chris Young, maybe… Kemp’s bat?

    ======================

    Rasmus has probably played his way into this conversation.

  16. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    A healthy sizemore who can still play CF would be in the top 3

  17. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    No love for Jetes on the sports dome

    MarkShepardSD Mark Shepard
    Jeter’s 2HR game reminded me of my grampa suddenly moving after being declared dead, but that was just cadaveric spasm. #jeter #deathspasm

  18. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Interesting answers…let me repeat the question for top 5 RFers

  19. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Andrew McCutchen might be another guy who should be able to play his way into this discussion at some point. He’s only 24. Bright future.

  20. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    RF: Choo, Bautista, Upton, Ethier and maybe Pence.

  21. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    or Heyward

  22. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    RiverAveBlues RT @mashmore98: Heard from Alan Horne today. He’s ahead of schedule. Very optimistic. Faces hitters for the first time in extended tomorrow

  23. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    RF is dicey, a lot of good RFers off to bad starts. Overall not really looking at current performance (which is different from how I evaluate Granderson, tho I think he will still be there at the end of the year)

    Heyward, Swisher, Choo, Ichiro, Ethier, Bruce, Bautista are all good.

    Choo is my favorite. Heyward will be good as long as he is healthy. Ichiro is a great specialized player. Ethier is a good bat but should be at 1st. Bruce, Choo, Bautista, and Heyward are good overall players. Swisher is a great fit to deepen a lineup and plays passable defense (and can make a nice play or two)

  24. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    BTW–growing up, CF and RF were IMO the two most prestigious positions in the game. CF had Mantle, Mays, Blair, while RF had FRobby, Kaline, Clemente, Colavito, Maris, TonyC, Olivo, Aaron, and others. No where near that star quality today.

  25. PagsandRags May 9th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I’m sure A-Rod will be ok but going forward after this year? Who knows? I still can’t believe we are going to be paying this man until he’s 42 years old. Ugh.

  26. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Good lists for RF too.

    I’d go with Bautista, Choo, Heyward, Icharo, and maybe Upton )if I believe he will bounce back).

    Long-term, Bryce Harper tops list IMO.

  27. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Right now, I might put Markakis over Upton

  28. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Markakis plays some passable D with a great arm but he really needs to hit for the power that was projected of him. And Upton needs to put it all together.

  29. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    BoJo – Thats Justin, not BJ. Markakis is pretty far off the list.

  30. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Right now, I might put Markakis over Upton
    ================

    I don’t know. Neither guy has really come all that close to matching their peak seasons (Upton’s 2009, Markakis’ 2008). I’d probably favor Upton right now because he’s much younger and having a better season this year.

  31. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    JF & ID–Agreed…agreed. But I am struggling for a fifth that I like. No where near the depth of my youth.

  32. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Also Mell–agreed.

  33. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I should define the qualification for a star RFer as someone who would hit 3rd or 4th in a line-up…like in the old days.

  34. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I wonder if star sluggers were hidden in right field in the past… as they are hidden in left field today?

  35. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Bojo:

    30 years from now, some curmudgeonly types will be saying the same thing about the players of their youth as compared to the players of the day. Hard to judge the finished product against the work in progress.

  36. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Or until a few years ago anyway, left field is largely devoid or star power right now… Halladay Braun and I guess Crawford are the only ones left in left (tee hee).

  37. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Maybe Carlos Quentin?

  38. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    You forgot LANCE BERKMAN

  39. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:08 pm
    ________
    Not sure if that is it or if there has been a trend to move great hitters to infield spots that traditionally housed weak hitters.

  40. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Berkman has been outstanding…true…

  41. Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Nelson Cruz, when healthy, is a good RF’er. Not the best in baseball, but he’s good..

  42. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    JackCurryYES Stats to ponder on offday. With Granderson hitting behind Jeter, Jeter is batting .333 w .369 OBP. Without Grandy hitting 2d, it’s .222/.296

  43. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Mell–Even 10-15 years ago, there seemed to be more talent there. Sosa, O’Niell, Canseco, Walker, Juan Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez (Cleve). and some others.

  44. Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    You know who’s not a good LF’er? Milton Bradley. He was just DFA’d…

  45. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Nelson Cruz is a guy I’d love to have, he is crazy strong. Also crazy injury prone.

  46. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
    Nelson Cruz, when healthy, is a good RF’er. Not the best in baseball, but he’s good..
    ______
    Excellent addition…forgot about him.

  47. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Cruz also is a great baserunner and good situational player…love him too

  48. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Nelson Cruz, when healthy, is a good RF’er. Not the best in baseball, but he’s good..

    ==============

    Yeah, he’s pretty good.

    That Rangers outfield is made of glass though. Once again Cruz and Hamilton missing significant time. 3rd straight year both guys will have done so.

  49. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Did anyone mention Hamilton in the CF discussion?

  50. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
    You know who’s not a good LF’er? Milton Bradley. He was just DFA’d…
    _________
    When a GM does that to him, I presume it is by long-distance phone call.

    “Do not pass go….do not collect $200…”

  51. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    Did anyone mention Hamilton in the CF discussion?
    _________
    He has been getting more time in LF lately. Great player…would top my list of LFers

  52. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Did anyone mention Hamilton in the CF discussion?

    He is a LFer

  53. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    The Yankees should acquire Milton Bradley, attaining him will upgrade the Yankees blackness greatly.

  54. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    BTW–apparently Texas signed a Cuban OFer in the last week or so that is suppoed to be a pretty good CFer….

  55. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I left Hamilton off the list on purpose… not a fan :) He would not be playing CF if they had… a CF…

  56. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Oh I had my list on last 3 years… nevermind

  57. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    The Yankees should acquire Milton Bradley, attaining him will upgrade the Yankees blackness greatly.
    ______
    Lucky for you he didn’t hear that… :-)

  58. Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Going into this season, I thought, Jay Bruce was primed for a breakout..

  59. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    And if anyone could heal Bradley and get him back into the 08 beast mode its Derek Jeter. Or is Captain a title in name only?

  60. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I think I am confusing Bradley with Curtis Pride

  61. Mell May 9th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    He has been getting more time in LF lately. Great player…would top my list of LFers
    ===================

    Hadn’t noticed that. I do recall them talking about him playing less CF this year to keep him healthy (Well done!). Guess Borbon is their CF, eh?

  62. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
    Going into this season, I thought, Jay Bruce was primed for a breakout..
    ______
    Still young…

  63. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Mell–yes. And soon to be replaced by the recent Cuban signing…in a year or so.

  64. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Bruce just hit a full season workload last year, probably a year or two before he fully breaks out.

  65. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Many years ago, players like Robby Cano and Ian Kinsler might have been shifted to RF early in careers. They didn’t get much time to develop defense in majors…perhaps because runs were so scarce in pitching dominant 60s.

  66. Jerkface May 9th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Hamilton played twice as many games in LF last year

  67. blake May 9th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Id like to see what kind of numbers Cruz could put up in an injury free season…..we may never know.

    G love,

    The hype machine never stops…..P.G. is plotting his assault of the trade market as we speak.

  68. blake May 9th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I think the Indians kept Sizemore in CF to actually reduce his injury risk…..he’s more.comfortable there and less abrupt starting and stopping because only one wall to deal with.

  69. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Actually, someone else to mention in RF–Carlos Beltran…Coming back nicely…will be a good pennant race pickup for some lucky team. I keep hoping Yankees will get hima nd drop Jones.

  70. BoJo May 9th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Going back to sleep (still fighting cold/flu)–see you all later

  71. Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Is Alex Gordon for real?

  72. Tom in N.J. May 9th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Andrew McCutchen is another young OF’er I like.

  73. Irreverent Discourse May 9th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    KC has been wishing for one of their guys to be “real” for a few years now. Gordon being the one would be… a surprise…

    Beltran is an interesting name, but he will be remembered in the books as a CF. Same with HOF’er Andruw Jones.

  74. Mike_Boston May 9th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Any medical folks have any comments on playing hoops (or any sport for that matter) with a dislocated elbow, re: Rondo?

    I know in the past I’ve seen NFL players leave the game and prematurely end their seasons from this injury. Are there different degrees of dislocation?

  75. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Wow….slow day on the LoHud. ;)

    russellmartin55 Ninety percent of the game is half mental. – Yogi Berra

  76. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Off day gossip break:

    http://tiny.cc/ec8mv

  77. JobaTipsHisCap May 9th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t expect too much to this team, just try to have some fun.

  78. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    JackCurryYES Random thought about Cervelli’s granny. When we did feature on Cano in D.R., Cervelli beat Cano in HR hitting contest. Jose Cano loved it.

  79. Erin May 9th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    New Post: The clubhouse pecking order

    :arrow:

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