Dodgers’ Miguel Rojas adjusts hitting mechanics, sees improvement
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.”
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