SARASOTA, Fla. - The good news for Luke Scott is he’s fully aware of the glitch that’s caused him to go hitless with five strikeouts in 12 spring training at-bats.
The bad news is he’s been unable to correct it.
“I don’t feel good at the plate. My timing’s off,” Scott said.
“Batting practice, I feel great. My swing is fine. Mechanically, I’m sound. But getting my timing, getting comfortable, I just haven’t found a good rhythm. It’s early. I’ve only got 12 at-bats. It’s coming a little bit slower this year than year’s past, but I’d rather get my bad swings out down here.
“I know what the problem is. The problem is, when I’m up there hitting, my front side’s leaving early. You get up there trying to hit and you’re thinking about the ball and you see it, but it’s almost like it has a mind of its own. But once that gets ironed out, I’m good to go.”
Scott, who’s starting at first base again today, said he’s spoken to hitting coach Jim Presley and instructor Terry Crowley. They offer encouragement. Now he needs results.
“They said there’s nothing I can do better in the cage or on the field. There’s just nothing I can do better,” Scott said.
“My swing’s fine, my mechanics are fine. It’s just in the game, getting that feel. This game’s about feel. Mechanically, I’m sound. Everything’s great. I’ve got tremendous bat speed. But in the game, it has a mind of its own.”
Scott demonstrates by simulating his swing, and how his front side, as he puts it, “leaves early.”
(Mine’s been known to do that at parties, but I digress...)
“Once you do that in this game, you’re done,” he said. “You can’t hit because it slows your bat down, you can’t get to the inside pitch and you can’t reach the outside pitch. It’s just weird. I know that’s what it is. It just comes with a feel. You’ve just got to have that one time where you get in the box, take that swing and all of a sudden that light comes on. That’s how this freakin’ game is.
“I know exactly what the issue is, but I do feel totally lost at the plate. It’s like, ‘How do I stop it?’ But at the same time, I’ve got to forget that stuff and just hit and just let it happen. It’ll come with some repetition. It’ll be fine.”
Scott is the logical choice to replace Derrek Lee at first base if the veteran isn’t ready by Opening Day. Lee is getting an MRI on his right wrist later today, but the Orioles believe it’s just precautionary and there’s no structural damage.
Here’s the Orioles lineup vs. the Red Sox tonight in Fort Myers:
Matt Angle RF
Randy Winn LF
Felix Pie CF
Jake Fox C
Josh Bell 3B
Brendan Harris 2B
Brandon Snyder DH
Joe Mahoney 1B
Robert Andino SS
Ryan Drese RHP