Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Barmes' Bat Finally Warms Up as Extra Work Pays Dividends

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Barmes' Bat Finally Warms Up as Extra Work Pays Dividends

Article excerpt

A three-hit game, highlighted by a tying home run, was a bit of a sweet payoff for shortstop Clint Barmes, who had wracked his brain the first three weeks of the season trying to figure out why he couldn't get it together at the plate.

He entered Tuesday with a .089 batting average and finished the series against his former team hitting .179. He added three hits in the doubleheader Wednesday. He studied video of his at-bats, pouring over each frame, he said. He went to the batting cage every day with hitting coach Gregg Ritchie.

"Trying to find ways and do small things," Barmes said.

He was confident his overall approach at the plate eventually would yield success, but he hoped minor alterations would expedite things.

"I've got something I feel is going to work and I've had success with it in the past," Barmes said. "I had success with it last year. I know it works. Just tweaking a few minor things here and there definitely help."

Barmes said he tried to make his hands less stiff, which would allow him greater flexibility to reach pitches throughout the zone.

"My hands felt loose and were able to fire at balls middle, away, all over," Barmes said. "That's definitely what I've been trying to get to. It was fun to finally have a night like that."

Manager Clint Hurdle said the key for struggling players is to simplify their approach -- not to complicate things.

"He wants to be here," he said. "He wants to play. He wants to make a difference. You come out and you're not doing what you want to do and it's not coming out well, you've just got to find a way to relax and go play."

"I've been searching for consistency ever since I've been in the big leagues," Barmes said. "That's one of the things that I've struggled with."

MAKING A LITTLE HISTORY

The Pirates and Rockies became the first teams to use the new roster-rule exception that allowed both to include a 26th man on their active rosters for the doubleheader. …

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