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Papi’s new stance pays off

05.31.09 at 3:27 pm ET
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When David Ortiz assumed his position at the plate Saturday, there was something different. Nothing dramatic, but it was there nonetheless.

While awaiting each pitch Ortiz was bouncing his bat on his back shoulder until the pitcher’s approach was in full swing. It was something he had never done, and wasn’t sure would continue.

But then came Sunday — a day after taking an 0 for 4 but hitting the ball hard twice — and Ortiz was back at it. This time it paid off. In his second at-bat, the Sox DH rocketed one of his hardest hit balls of the season off the center field wall for a double. It was the reward both Ortiz and hitting coach Dave Magadan were looking after what has been a wave of adjustments.

“It’s something I brought up to him about four or five days ago and then all of a sudden (Saturday) he showed up doing it in his pre-game stuff,” said Magadan, who suggested the same approach to Sean Burroughs in San Diego, but the then-Padres’ third baseman didn’t take to it. “We started talking about it and I just told him, ‘Yeah, give it a shot.’”

The impetus for the shoulder tapping with the bat is so that Ortiz’ swing can start on more of a flat plane, instead of looping around too much, which has been a problem.

“We wanted to flatten his bat a little bit. It was getting a little too erect and he he loads it’s almost too late, so we wanted to flatten it a little bit,” Magadan explained. “I know people are sick and tired of hearing it, but his batting practices have been unbelievable.

“I just don’t want him to get to a point where he’s thinking about his stance and mechanics and all of that instead of focusing in on the baseball. It’s just a reminder for him.”

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