From Ken Rosenthal (FOX Sports):
For Alex Rodriguez, the adjustment was simple — swing at strikes, the way he did in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
For Nick Swisher, the change was far more dramatic — stunning, in fact, considering that it came in the middle of the World Series.
Swisher, benched in Game 2, completely overhauled his stance for Game 3, spreading his legs far apart in the batter’s box.
So much for his 4-for-35 slump in the postseason.
Swisher went 2-for-4 in the Yankees’ 8-5 victory, hitting a double to start a three-run rally in the fifth inning and a solo home run in the sixth.
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said that Swisher’s new stance is the first step of a major overhaul that will continue in the offseason.
Swisher, a switch-hitter, had tried the stance in the batting cage and in batting practice in recent days, taking approximately 300 swings from each side.
The idea, Long said, is “to eliminate movement, put yourself in better position to react to the baseball.
“Everyone knows he is a great fastball hitter,” Long continued. “They’ve been trying to off-speed him to death. When you have a lot of motion — he has a toe tap and also a long stride — pitches are tough to see, tough to react to.”
Here’s Swisher’s old stance, seen just a few days ago, in Game 1 of the World Series:
Now, here’s Swisher’s revamped stance, which made its debut last night, in Game 2, against Cole Hamels.
I really don’t think that Rosenthal described the change well in his article. Swisher had an extremely wide stance prior to the change, however, his stance was noticeably more open. In his “new” stance, Swisher continues keeping his legs far apart, yet now he’s much more closed off at the plate (the Yankees made a similar change to Robinson Cano’s stance over the winter). I watched a few videos and the toe tap timing mechanism is still there, except it’s not nearly as pronounced. Plus, Swisher has adopted a Gary Sheffield like bat waggle with the closed off stance, which he may have to work on eliminating over the off-season. As Kevin Long says, it’s a work-in-progress and, based on the way in which the new stance looks, I think the change could help Swisher hit for a higher average in 2010.
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