Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mabry Gets Muscles to Follow His Orders

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mabry Gets Muscles to Follow His Orders

Article excerpt

There were the first 14 games in which John Mabry batted .163. Then there were the next 17 games in which he hit .393. Then there were the next seven games in which Mabry batted .038. And then were the 20 in which he had hit .418 before Tuesday night's game with the San Diego Padres.

But Mabry, whose 20-game hitting streak was the longest in the National League this year, walked in his first two at-bats, once intentionally, and was retired in his next three plate appearances as the Cardinals and the P adres were tied 5-5 after nine innings.

Mabry said he hadn't done anything markedly different from a technical standpoint during his streak. But it is clear that he has heeded hitting coach George Hendrick's suggestion to be aggressive in first-pitch fa stball situations. "I've tried to do that all the time," Mabry said. "That's the whole deal, to (hit) that fastball when they try to get ahead of you. That's usually the best fastball to hit." Mabry's work ethic always has impressed Hendrick and his teammates. "I don't have the talent that a lot of people have," said Mabry, whose speed is limited and whose power is average. "I'm a big believer in training your muscles what to do." Especially the brain, Mabry said. "That's the biggest one," he said. "That's the one that goes awry first - and most often." Mabry, a third-year player out of West Chester University, gives Hendrick considerable credit for his success - Mabry is hitting .309 now - and just as quickly, Hendrick disdains it. "Credit his success to his understanding of work ethic," Hendrick said. "It's got nothing to do with me.' Mabry, who earlier had had an 11-game hitting streak, said there was one thing he had done differently - he's wiggling his bat less before the pitch, acting on a tip he received from what he called "a casual observer" (a close friend) who was watching on television. …

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