And now for another episode of “Hitting Made Easy” with Nate McLouth


Buster Olney discusses the key to Nate McLouth’s hitting success this spring training:

Nate McLouth has never discussed hitting mechanics with the Braves’ new hitting coach, Larry Parrish. The only thing they’ve talked about getting McLouth back to being aggressive at the plate, and so in his at-bats this spring, he’s gone to the plate with a more focused approach: He looks for the ball in a particular part of the strike zone early in the count, and looks to do damage. If the ball is not in that spot, he takes the pitch.  This is working for him.

Honest question: Who does this not work for?

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.