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Published by MarinersPRJeff

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Published by: MarinersPRJeff on Jun 25, 2012
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 Mariners outfelder  Michael Saundersentered the 2012 seasonarmed with a new swing.
By Kieran O’Dwyer 
This pastoseason MichaelSaunders reached aboiling point. He hadhad it with his swing.Frustrated or havingailed to stick at the BigLeague level over the pastcouple o years due to incon-sistent hitting, Saunders couldhave packed his bags and headedhome to dwell on his misortune. Butinstead o eeling sorry or himsel, the25-year-old outfelder went searchingor answers, determined to prove that hebelonged in the Majors.“The ailures over the past two years hadreally driven me to say, ‘I know I can do this. Ihave the ability to do this. Why am I not doingthis?’” said Saunders, who entered this season with a.196 career batting average in 204 Major League games.“I was sick and tired o it, so I went out to try to fndsome help.”Saunders search ultimately led him to the brother o ormer Mariners teammate Josh Bard. Over a two-monthstretch, he and Mike Bard essentially reinvented Saundersswing. Even now, Saunders admits there is still work tobe done, but he believes he’s in a much better place at theplate now than ever beore.
Mariners Magazine
recently spoke with Saundersabout the overhaul o his swing.
 Mariners Magazine: 
What possessedyou to pursue a total makeover o your swing?
 Michael Saunders: 
Over the last coupleo years, I was tired o the peror-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 oseason my wie 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 oer or say thathelped make a connection or whatyou needed?
We talked quite a bit abouthitting and the way he described howimportant it is to simpliy 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
(continued on page 24)
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 roomor error so I don’t have to be perectall the time, and be on time with everypitch and catch it in that perect 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 toocus 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 sosuccessul? Why do they consistentlyhit .330? What are they doing rightand what am I doing dierently 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 ater 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 dierent 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 let 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.

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