Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bae Ji-hwan explained the change in his batting form.
In an interview with MK Sports before the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 3 (KST), Bae said, “I have my old one, but I don’t really stick to it. I don’t have any wariness or discomfort with change,” he said about his thoughts on changing his batting form.
Earlier, MLB.com highlighted Bae’s batting form change. Bae, who used to use an extreme leg kick that raised his right foot high in his batting stance, changed to a natural forward motion instead of raising his leg in mid-April.
“There’s a sense of urgency right now,” he said of the change, adding, “I approached it more like, ‘Why don’t I try it?’ than, ‘I need to change it.
Pittsburgh has four hitting coaches, including hitting coach Andy Hines. Bae practiced with them and made changes to his hitting form.
“I talked to the coaches in the cage. I said, ‘This is what I want to stick to, and this is what the coaches recommend,'” he says, describing it as a process of communication and compromise.
Is it working? Bae went 7-for-29 (.350) with two doubles and three home runs in the last six road games, and in 24 games in the month of May, he batted .304 with a .360 on-base percentage and .391 slugging percentage.
“If (the results) don’t come, I’ll go back to the bullpen, and if they come, I’ll change it,” he said, adding that he will continue to work on his hitting form.
“I’m feeling good these days. I feel good. My only regret is that the umpires are shaking the strike zone. The important thing is not to hit balls that are balls in my eyes, regardless of what the umpires call,” he said, adding that staying ahead of the plate is key.
Pittsburgh’s lineup against right-hander Zach Pretty (3-4, 4.81) was Tukupita Makano (shortstop), Brian Reynolds (left field), Andrew McCutchen (designated hitter), Zack Sewinski (center field), Carlos Santana (first base), Bae Ji-Hwan (second base), Keith Bryan Hayes (third base), Josh Palacios (right field) and Austin Hedges (catcher). Roanj Contreras (3-4, 4.33) will take the mound.