Despite lack of home runs, Gonzalez still pulls his weight

The Sports Xchange

For weeks, Adrian Gonzalez has shrugged off the notion that his swing may have been adversely affected by participating in the Home Run Derby.

His hitting coach may disagree.

Gonzalez has only one home run since the All-Star break, and hitting coach Dave Magadan told the Boston Herald on Wednesday that it's possible the slugging first baseman emerged from the Home Run Derby subconsciously pulling the ball rather than going the opposite way to left field.

"I completely buy that," Magadan said. "He's a guy, when he takes batting practice, he doesn't hit too many balls to the pull side (right field). To go in there in the Home Run Derby and take 120 swings or however many they take, and everything's pull, pull, pull, now it's kind of hard to back the ball up and go the other way again."

Still, Gonzalez continues to get plenty of hits. He leads the majors in with a .348 average, 92 RBI and 163 hits, and he recently had a 14-game hitting streak during which he batted .483.

But he has gone deep only once in 117 at-bats. His 18 home runs are third-most among the Red Sox, trailing David Ortiz (23) and Jacoby Ellsbury (19).

"I think the All-Star break, it wasn't a break for him, but the four days of the All-Star Game really wore him out a little bit," Magadan told the Herald. "When you get a little bit tired, you start getting a little too much body in your swing. You start cheating, you start chasing pitches you don't normally chase, and they've been throwing him a lot more chase pitches now.

"He's showing signs of getting back to where he was. He drove a ball (Monday) to the opposite field a couple times. When he's doing that, then he's closer to where he needs to be. It's just a matter of time."

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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