Norris “free and easy” at plate after struggles at Harrisburg

Scottsdale Scorpions catcher Derek Norris has made some adjustments to his approach at the plate that have made a positive difference as he wraps up his 2011 season in the Arizona Fall League.

Norris hit .210 in 104 games with 334 at-bats for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators this season. He had 17 doubles, one triple, 20 homers, 77 walks and 46 RBIs.

Norris said playing in the Arizona Fall League this month has been good for his season. “I prefer this than to go out of the country to play winter ball,” he said. “There is some real good baseball (in the AFL).”

He is batting .200 in six games so far for Scottsdale, but has been hitting the ball hard and has four hits in his last five games. Norris smacked a double and had two RBIs in his last game Saturday.

“I made some adjustments to my approach here in Arizona,” Norris said. “It has shown to me that I have a lot that I can do at the plate. I have been able to put the ball in play. At times during the season, I had an inability to pull the trigger. Now I feel a lot better about myself. I am free and easy with my swing. I just pressed at the plate during the season. Here, I just got back to ground zero.”

Looking back on the season, he feels good that he was able to hit .400 when he put the ball in play. “So I am working off of that knowledge,” Norris said. “It is nice to take pitches and learn that part of the game, but now I am just going out and swinging.”

Norris said Harrisburg hitting coach Troy Gingrich helped him work on a lot of things this season and Scottsdale Scorpions hitting coach Ken Joyce has provided a “different perception” of his game from outside the organization. “Sometimes it is good to get a different opinion from someone who maybe doesn’t know you as well,” Norris said.

Norris has enjoyed speaking to and working with catcher Hank Conger, who played 59 games with Los Angeles Angels this season.

“It is good thing because he is one year older than me and he just pretty much went through the same thing I did last year,” Norris said.

Norris wants to continue to work on his plate consistency and get away from the ruts he would get into in Harrisburg, where he would be hitting for 10 games and then not hit well for 10 games.

When Arizona competition wraps up in November, Norris will take some time off between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then start throwing and hitting again at the end of December.

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