Miguel Rojas makes snap adjustments that result in spectacular plays wherever he fields, and now he’s making adjustments to his swing as well.
It worked Wednesday, as Rojas put together a 2-for-3 day on two singles against the Cleveland Indians. Rojas’ second single came on the seventh pitch of the at-bat after he fouled off two pitches.
“I made a couple adjustments the last few days with the hitting coach [Mark McGwire], trying to simplify a little bit,” Rojas said after the game. “What I was doing was having a leg kick and a lot of movement when I was about to swing, but today I was able to put a good at-bat together and help myself to be calm and just put a short and quick swing on.”
Before this season, Rojas spent eight years in the minors. This is his first big league call-up, and he said he needed to tweak his swing to face major league pitchers.
“When I got here in the big leagues, the first couple weeks I was fine with a leg kick, but they started throwing me a little bit more off-pitch and sliders, breaking balls, so I have to make the adjustment for that,” Rojas said.
Both of Rojas’ hits wound up in center field — bull's-eyes, given the goals of his recent adjustments.
“Mark McGwire gave me the advice, ‘You’ve gotta be shorter because you’re not a power hitter. You’re not a home run hitter, so staying shorter, you’re going to be able to hit the ball through the middle better,’” Rojas said.
In the first inning, a ball off the bat of Jason Kipnis bruised Rojas’ finger, and Juan Uribe replaced him at third in the seventh inning.
“It’s because I got a hit on my tip of my finger, so I couldn’t stay in the game a little longer because I wasn’t able to hold the ball, and that’s why I came out,” Rojas said.
He stayed in the game long enough to demonstrate the defensive ability that initially caught the Dodgers’ eye.
In the fifth inning, a diving Rojas robbed Cleveland’s Michael Brantley of a hit.
Rojas also came up big in an even bigger game two weeks earlier. During Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter, Rojas nabbed a likely hit from Colorado’s Troy Tulowitski with a backhand then made the throw from deep behind the bag—almost in the grass—to keep the no-no alive.
But offensive production never hurts, even if his primary assignment is defense.
“I’m here to pick the ball up,” Rojas said. “That’s what the main thing for me is: to keep catching the ball and keep making those plays for the pitchers. We’ve got a great pitching staff, so they need those plays to be made. So I’m trying to keep focused on defense, and what I can do on offense is gonna be a plus.”