Sending the ball over the wall in right-center off Max Scherzer in the 2nd inning of today’s game was more than just a home run for Greg Garcia, it was the result of his off-season plan to improve.
“I want to drive the baseball more,” he shared earlier this spring. “Not so much homers–I think the homers will come. I think it’s more doubles, more triples, using the speed a little bit more, run the bases a little bit better, do the little things a little bit better.”
To be clear, this is not about suddenly trying to challenge Marcell Ozuna for the St. Louis Cardinals clean-up spot. Garcia hit two home runs last year and has a total of seven in his 544 at-bats. But he’s also aware that the Cardinals do not have many left-handed bats and extra power would help his game, which in turn would help the team.
“I’m never going to hit 30 home runs,” said Garcia. “That’s not a reality for me, but five to seven home runs and if I get 300 plate appearances, that should be a reality for me. That’s what I worked hard on every day in the offseason to try and accomplish those goals. I just wanted to add more power to my game–again, not more home runs but maybe doubles, triples, things like that.”
Changing the launch angle of your swing is a popular move among players of late, but Garcia did not go to that extreme. Instead he had some discussions with hitting coaches John Mabry and Bill Mueller, talked with some teammates, and watched film of successful hitters. He came up with a simpler approach.
“I’m trying to keep my top hand on a little bit longer through the zone,” explained Garcia. “I think that’s going to create a little more power. A little more backspin.”
Besides working on his power this offseason, Garcia also began preparations for fatherhood as he and his wife, Hannah, will soon welcome their first child.
“A baby girl, due in June,” beamed Garcia. “We’re really excited about that. We bought a home in San Diego. We owned a townhome before that, so kind of a busy offseason, but an exciting one.”
FOUR K’S for WAINO
–The television highlight would likely show Adam Wainwright striking out Bryce Harper on a big curveball, but it was the overall line from the Cardinals hurler which is more notable.
In his second start of the spring, Wainwright threw 3.2 innings against Washington and allowed three hits, with one earned run, and notched four strikeouts.
Wainwright pitched 2.0 innings with 2 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts on March 1st against Minnesota.
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com; Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports