St. Lucie Mets' Henry finds success at leadoff
Monday, June 18, 2007
PORT ST. LUCIE — When St. Lucie Mets second baseman Emmanuel Garcia got hurt in late April, manager Frank Cacciatore opted to put outfielder Sean Henry in the leadoff spot.
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Six weeks later — even after Garcia has returned — that decision has stuck.
"It's fun," Henry said. "You get more at-bats than anybody on the team, so there's more chances of getting a hit than anybody else. I like those chances."
Henry also is seeing a lot more pitches since batting .231 in April, which has allowed him to be a more effective hitter. He has raised his average to .281 and maintained power — Henry has a team-high seven home runs — while staying patient at the plate.
"I've learned that you need to take pitches, take strikes, especially in a long inning or even just leading off," Henry said. "You've just got to learn how to take pitches to help your 2-3-4-5 (hitters), you know, down in the order to see some pitches."
Though Henry had batted as a leadoff hitter before, doing it day in and day out is a new trick. But Henry is hitting better out of the top spot.
"During the beginning of this season, I'd go up there and swing at the first pitch," Henry said. "Let's say if I got out or let's say if I got a hit, I'm not helping my teammates that much, so that's one thing that I've worked on."
Henry made an even bigger transition in the outfield. The 21-year old had split time as an infielder and an outfielder throughout his career, but the Florida State League has bigger stadiums and more ground to cover.
"Every field in this league is huge," Henry said. "That's one thing that's really different for me because I'm used to taking less than 10 steps back and I'm at the fence. Whereas here, I could take 15 steps back and I'm on the warning track."