New Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan has been busy meeting with as many players as possible.
By ANTHONY ANDROFS Southwest
ARLINGTON, Texas – New
Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan has been a busy man lately.
Magadan, who was at Rangers Ballpark Wednesday, has tried to talk with as many players as he can. He's also meeting with some Thursday and plans to travel to the Dominican Republic to meet with others.
One thing he's finding out is that the offense feels accountable for the team's struggles down the stretch, which is one of the reasons Magadan was hired last month to replace Scott Coolbaugh.
"They led major-league baseball in runs scored last year but they all felt they left a lot on the table and they could have been better, especially towards the end of the year," Magadan said. "It's essential in our division. The pitching is outstanding in our division. You're not just going to bang the ball around the park and score a lot of runs every night. Those are guys you've got to have good approach, good about at-bats. It's got to be talked about a lot."
Magadan, who spent the last six seasons as Boston's hitting coach, is the fourth Texas hitting coach since the 2010 season began. His focus with the Rangers won't be on dealing with the offense as a whole, but working with each hitter on what they need to do to be successful.
Being patient at the plate and taking advantage of scoring opportunities when they are available, areas the Rangers had problems with last year, are also going to be emphasized.
"I'm not a big fan of having hitters meetings to talk about generalities," Magadan said. "I like talking about it with each individual, what that pitcher is going to do to get you out. Every hitter is going to be pitched differently. What makes Ian Kinsler a good hitter and Adrian Beltre a good hitter doesn't make David Murphy a good hitter. Each hitter is different. When they get away from what they're doing, that's when I come in to get them back."
Patience at the plate was one of Magadan's strengths as a player. He finished second in the National League in on-base percentage in 1990 and Boston led the majors in pitchers per at-bat over the last six seasons at 3.94 per plate appearance.
That doesn't mean he wants the Rangers to draw more walks than they did in 2012, when their 478 walks ranked ninth in the American League. But it does mean he wants them to be smarter at the plate.
"I never talk to a hitter about walking more," he said. "If you have a good approach and know what you're looking for, and if you stay disciplined, the walks will happen, you'll see better pitches and you'll end up driving the ball. It's all about having a disciplined approach."