Dunn having good spring
Slugger credits hitting coach
By Josh Katzowitz
Post staff reporter
Adam Dunn is happy to be working with his favorite hitting instructor Brook Jacoby.
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Without hesitation and without prompting, Adam Dunn says Brook Jacoby was and is the best hitting coach he ever had. They worked together in Class AAA Louisville where Dunn hit .320 with 20 home runs in 210 at-bats, and Dunn says Jacoby is the reason he made the big leagues.
Dunn trusts Jacoby, because Dunn thinks Jacoby can get the best out of him.
When Dunn ended last season with a .234 batting average and 194 strikeouts - both were the second-worst marks of his career - the Reds left fielder knew he needed help. He could see on videotape what he was doing wrong, but he couldn't quite figure out how to fix it. Enter Jacoby, who was hired as Cincinnati's hitting coach in November and who traveled to Texas this winter to visit with Dunn for a few days.
The reason for the stopover, Dunn said Tuesday, was pretty simple.
"We just hit," Dunn said. "And, uh, pretty much just hit."
It was what Dunn needed after the final two months of last season when he batted .174 with 75 strikeouts. He doesn't want to talk about those dark days, but he wanted Jacoby's help.
They hit, Jacoby adjusted Dunn's mechanics, they hit and Jacoby adjusted Dunn's mechanics some more. No big changes, though. Just little tweaks here and there.
"I don't know, I'm just trying to see some pitches, and when I do swing, I just try to stay though the middle instead of trying to pull out," Dunn said. "It really hasn't changed a whole lot. It's a lot of little stuff. He was showing me some stuff to work on before I got to spring. I didn't want to take those bad habits going into spring. It was starting over."
The statistics tell you that Jacoby's intervention, so far, has been successful. Dunn, it seems, has reinvented himself.
Following Cincinnati's 6-2 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday at Bright House Networks Field, Dunn is hitting .383 with four home runs and 12 RBIs. He's not necessarily trying to see how far he can hit the ball down the right field line. He's trying to do more than that now.
"All spring, he's hit extremely well," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He hasn't been trying to hit home runs. He's been trying to make good, solid contact. Mechanically, he's made some slight differences. I'm sure the longer Brook works with him, the better both of them will be together and the better (Dunn) will be."
Which doesn't mean Dunn has changed his approach at the plate. Even if teams continue to shift the defense to the right side of the field - Dunn said Tuesday such a shift should be illegal, and it wasn't clear whether he was kidding - he's not going to change his swing and mess with his mechanics.
"I'm not going to try to hit the ball the other way," Dunn said. "That's not what I'm here for. That's not what I do. But if a pitch needs to go that way, I want to be able to do it instead of rolling it over to second base."
Whatever he and Jacoby have done, it's working. Dunn said his favorite hitting coach is a big reason for that.
"He's the best hitting coach I've ever had," Dunn said. "He's the one who got me up here. I have to trust him. He's what got me to the big leagues. I definitely have all the confidence in the world in him."