Mark Sheldon has this piece about Adam Dunn, and the work he’s been putting in this spring to improve:
This slugger aims to become a better hitter.
Doing that meant going back to the basics for Dunn, and going back to Brook Jacoby. The Reds hired Jacoby in the offseason to replace Chris Chambliss as hitting coach. Dunn and Jacoby have a history of working together in the Minors when Jacoby was a roving instructor.
“He knows me. I’ve known him a long time,” said Dunn, who has 198 career homers since 2001. “He’s seen me at my best. He knows what to do. He’s the one that got me here.”
I hope Jacoby helps Dunn. I hope the big guy improves. But, heck, I was pretty happy with Dunn already. Mostly I hope he improves and cuts down on the strikeout rate so that I won’t have to listen to all the complaining about the Reds’ best hitter this season.
For what it’s worth, Jacoby claims that he has discovered a flaw in Dunn’s swing:
Apparently, there were a lot of factors. After joining the Reds, Jacoby watched video of Dunn’s swing and noticed a difference from the early years. He saw mechanical issues. The front hip opened too much. Dunn couldn’t get down on the ball quick enough.
“The biggest thing I noticed was he was late getting ready to hit,” Jacoby said.
Eager to get a jump on the 2007 season, Dunn worked out all winter and shed some weight from his 275-pound body. He reported to camp ahead of schedule and is an early participant each morning with Jacoby in the cage.
Dunn has also listened to Jacoby and opened his mind to changing his approach.
“It’s basic, I shouldn’t say the word ‘easy,'” Dunn said. “But it’s back to square one stuff.”
“He’s solidifying the things we’re trying to accomplish,” Jacoby said. “A lot of it is different and is going to feel different. But the more we can work on it, the faster we’ll get to where it feels natural and having him just react at the plate. He’s asking good questions. He’s telling me when he feels like he’s late. All those things are pointing him in the right direction, that it’s going well.”
Dunn is hopeful he’s improved, but he doesn’t want to be perfect:
“If I took care of everything, I wouldn’t be able to give you guys something to write about. I have to be bad somewhere,” Dunn joked. “I’ll have bad hair. Everyone can talk about my hair.
“I’m trying to eliminate the negative.”
Heh. That’s exactly why this guy is such a Redleg Nation favorite.