Zaun makes adjustments, sees results
Veteran catcher homers, doubles vs. Indians on Thursday
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Gregg Zaun was feeling downright miserable at the plate this spring. Before games in the batting cage, Toronto's catcher was doing just fine, but when it came time to step in against opposing teams, everything seemed to go awry.
On Thursday, Zaun made the trek to Chain of Lakes Park with Toronto for its tilt against Cleveland and decided to test out some mechanical adjustments to his swing. Using a more open stance from both sides of the plate, the switch-hitter finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Needless to say, Zaun is pleased with the early results.
"It was a good day," Zaun said. "I needed to get some at-bats and knew [manager John Gibbons] would give me a chance to come over here and get three or four at-bats. I really needed it, because I've been kind of working on some stance [adjustments] and some swing changes in the cage.
"I just wasn't seeing the ball very good at all this spring. I was able to do the things that I wanted to do off the tee and with soft-tossing and our batting drills before the game. But when I got out on the field, I never could get comfortable."
Batting from the left side against Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona, Zaun picked up a single in the first inning and a double in the third. In the fifth inning, Zaun moved to the other side of the plate to bat right-handed against left-handed reliever Aaron Laffey, and the catcher belted a pitch deep to left for a solo home run.
"A rare homer from the right side," said a smiling Zaun, who hit .242 with 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 2007, when he suffered a broken right thumb that sidelined him for about six weeks in the first half of the season.
That showing raised Zaun's spring batting average to .235 from .071 heading into the game. The 36-year-old catcher, who had managed just one hit in his first 14 at-bats of Spring Training, said he was having trouble identifying pitches clearly over the past few weeks.
"I was having a little trouble seeing the ball," Zaun said. "And I wasn't able to put the mind and the body together with the things we've been working on. ... We kind of opened up my stance a little bit and that kept me from striding across my body.
"I was able to have a nice clean path to the ball, and early on, the results are pretty good. I'm pretty happy with it."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.