If Danny Espinosa had come to the majors, done what he's done - hit three homers and drive in 10 runs in five games - and hit all three homers by pulling them, that would be impressive enough. But here's what he's done instead:
-On Friday night, batting right-handed, Espinosa hit an opposite-field shot off a Zach Duke changeup.
-In the third inning yesterday, Espinosa hit left-handed, and took a Mike Pelfrey fastball the other way for a solo homer.
-In the sixth inning yesterday, again from the left side, he pulled a Ryota Igarashi fastball and smashed it off the facing of the upper deck in right field.
That's three homers, including an opposite-field shot from each side of the plate and a pulled homer from the left side. And it makes what Espinosa has done so far exponentially more impressive.
"His swing is definitely more compact (than it was this spring), and it's direct to the ball, as evidenced by the opposite-field home run," hitting coach Rick Eckstein said. "He's able to stay on pitches away, and he turned on a pitch in."
The short stroke Espinosa displays now, though, has definitely been a work in progress. He was tinkering with different swing approaches this spring, and though he was hitting homers early in the minor league season, his average was stuck at .245 around the Double-A All-Star break in June. Put simply, Espinosa was mixing and matching swings, hoping he'd find something that worked.
"Earlier on, I was trying on different stances, different positions with my hands. I was trying to sit on different pitches, and getting out of my approach," Espinosa said. "That wasn't working for me. I had to go back and really work with (Harrisburg hitting coach) Troy Gingrich down in Double-A and get back on track."
By the time he was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on Aug. 6, Espinosa had raised his average to .262, and he hit .295 with four homers in 24 games at Syracuse. Since he got the majors, that trajectory has continued to climb upward.
"He looks very promising, as everybody has thought of him," Eckstein said. "It's exciting to see."