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?
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.