Hitting coach Thad Bosley's No. 1 goal in spring training was to get last year's version of Punch and Judy -- shortstop Elvis Andrus and center fielder Julio Borbon -- to start hitting the ball with more authority.
Early indications: Bosley's a fast worker.
Andrus and Borbon each had significant extra-base hits in the Rangers' 6-4 win over Seattle on Monday, which ran the club's season-opening winning streak to four games. Andrus homered in the first inning to end a stretch of 705 at-bats, dating to Sept. 2, 2009, without a long ball. Borbon had his second two-out, run-scoring triple in as many starts in the second inning.
Together, they have six extra-base hits through the Rangers' first four games (though each has only played three). Compare that to last year, when Andrus and Borbon combined for just 36 extra-base hits for the season and just four after Sept. 1.
Part of the issue may have been both players' youth and a lack of complete comprehension of the team's offensive philosophy last year, which relied heavily on situational hitting. While the Rangers still want to be a smart situational-hitting team, they want to be able to drive more balls. Last year, the Rangers ranked in the bottom half of the AL in extra-base hits and 11th in doubles.
So far, it seems like Bosley's preaching has hit home. Andrus and Borbon have hit the ball significantly harder than they did for most of last year.
"They've done a great job since the start of spring training," Bosley said. "They did a great job last year, too, but we felt there were some areas in which they could improve on. We thought they could get through the ball better. I think we've seen early indications of their capabilities."
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