What possessedyou to pursue a total makeover o your swing?
Over the last coupleo years, I was tired o the peror-mances I’ve had on the feld. It’s reallydriven me to go out and fnd some-thing that can help me get better. Joshintroduced me to his older brother,Mike, who happens to be a hittingcoach. In the oseason my wie and Imoved to Colorado, and that’s wherehe’s based. So I decided to talk to himand get a eel or his approach and seei this is something I want to do. I waslooking or anything.
What did he oer or say thathelped make a connection or whatyou needed?
We talked quite a bit abouthitting and the way he described howimportant it is to simpliy hitting reallymade sense to me. He put me througha lot o hitting drills. I narrowed themdown to things that I liked and wethrew away things I didn’t like. So Istarted hitting with some bands aroundme to help keep my swing short andcompact, and orce me to “stay in mylegs.” I started swinging a heavy bat
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which orced me to use my lower hal so I don’t swing with just my arms andhands. So that’s where we narrowedit down.
Obviously getting more hitsis the goal, but what other thingsare you looking to accomplish withthe change?
Ultimately, I want to create roomor error so I don’t have to be perectall the time, and be on time with everypitch and catch it in that perect spotin order to be able to drive the ball. Iwant to drive the ball rom numerouspositions, whether I’m late or early. Justtry to create margin or error.
What did you do to determinethe isolation points that you wanted toocus on?
Basically, we took my at-bats inthe Majors, videotaped them and had Jimmy [Hartley], our video coordina-tor, do a ront and side view o them.He analyzed everything. Then wetook the best hitters in the game andstarted asking, ‘Why are these guys sosuccessul? Why do they consistentlyhit .330? What are they doing rightand what am I doing dierently that isnot allowing me to do this? Then weput my video next to theirs and startedbreaking it down. From there, westarted understanding the swing.
What was it like to go back toground zero ater years o swingingyour bat a certain way?
You really have to learn yoursel and learn what a swing really is. Ihave a long body, long limbs and it’seasy or me to get a long swing. So westarted using dierent contraptions,then used the bands. At frst I wasdouble-gussing these things, I hatedthem, but they orced me to revampmy swing. They kept me honest andreally showed me when I was doingsomething wrong.I’d have a band around my knees,not allowing me to come up out o myswing. And I’d have a band wrappedaround my let side and then wrappedaround the outside o my right shoulder,which kept me compact and short.
Michael Saunders celebrates with teammate Jesús Mon-tero after Saunders hit a grand slam home run in the 10thinning against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 27, 2012.