By Sweeny Murti
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Alex Rodriguez is blistering the ball this spring.
He’s hitting .404 (19 for 47) with 7 doubles and 6 home runs. With spring training just about over, can he carry over these results into the regular season?
A-Rod chatted with reporters after Sunday’s game against the Twins, the seven minute session his longest and most revealing of the spring, giving some insight into his improved physical health and how that’s affected his game:
A-Rod (and earlier in the day Joe Girardi) talked about cheating on his swing. It’s not what you’re probably thinking, although use of that word to describe A-Rod’s habits at the plate is somewhat ironic. Here, the basic idea is that A-Rod doesn’t have to do anything extra to get ahead of pitches right now, whereas he might have been too limited physically in the recent past.
Hitting Coach Kevin Long explained it this way: “He’s crushing balls to center…the explosion of his hips and his lower half that’s causing him to do that, he had to really fight to get his hips and his lower half included at times the last few years, and (now) it’s really, really explosive. He’s getting all the way through the ball, and that helps when you have that flexibility in your hips, and that’s what you see.”
Long adds that his batting practice sessions are “10 out of 10” every time now. “Now every time he steps in the cage it’s pretty special.”
Knowing how severe that hip injury was, there still has to be some cause for concern about his long term health and production for the Yankees–remember, this guy is signed through 2017. But in the short term, A-Rod looks like he’s ready for 2011.
How many homers is A-Rod good for this year? Give us your prediction in the comments below…