Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notes: Piscotty Searching for Swing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Notes: Piscotty Searching for Swing

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI * One full season and one game into his major-league career, Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty has been thrust into an increasingly prominent role even as he learns to survive the length of his first full season.

Piscotty went zero for four as the Cardinals' No. 3 hitter in Thursday's loss, and his rash of strikeouts continued as his average dipped to .282, the lowest it's been since late April. After the Cardinals' 7-0 dud at Great American Ball Park, he said learning the length and demands of the major-league season "is more mentally draining than physically."

"I feel like my answer would be different if was I hitting better," he said.

"Young players, when you see such consistency, you just anticipate that it's always going to be the case for the rest of the year," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's an unrealistic expectation. Every player is going to have a little spot like he does right now. Still think he's going to be on the short end of the learning curve for it."

Matheny did take measures to help Piscotty through this past road trip. He was given a day in Miami free of even thinking of using a bat. The Cardinals told him to "shut it down" for a day, and then Piscotty came back the next day and had "a work day." He wasn't starting, but he was expected to work on his kinked swing in the batting cage. Piscotty has avoided the flu bug that's wormed its way through the clubhouse, and he said there was physical drag on him.

There was a lurch in his swing.

A few times during the road trip, Piscotty mentioned how he had been "pressing" at the plate. He has launching off his bag leg, lunging, and that was causing his timing and vision to jump.

"It drifted to a drift," Piscotty said of his swing. "I started pushing hard off my back side and making it tougher to catch up to a fastball, or more prone to chasing after the off-speed pitch. I think there are some mechanical things that need to be corrected. I don't know if that has anything to do with being a little tired. I have an idea what's going on and that's the start."

Piscotty, 25, has played more innings than any other Cardinal, and just since the All-Star break he's hit No. 3 most often, cleanup at times, and once leadoff. Matheny said he shifted Piscotty to leadoff because he was scuffling and a different look might help.

Piscotty has hit .184 with more strikeouts (13) than hits (nine) in his previous 13 games. He hit a home run Wednesday night for the difference in that win, and has maintained his stream of RBIs with a team-leading 60. During the series in Cincinnati, Piscotty played his 162nd game in the majors giving him a full season. He hit .292 with a .841 OPS, 22 home runs, and 99 RBIs. It's the line of a middle-order hitter and an All-Star. He's shown he can produce. …

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