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Saunders_Mariners_Magazine

Saunders_Mariners_Magazine

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Published by MarinersPRJeff

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Published by: MarinersPRJeff on Jun 25, 2012
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22
MARINERS MAGAZINE
 
 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.
Reinvention
 
MARINERS MAGAZINE
23
 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.
 MM: 
What did he oer or say thathelped make a connection or whatyou needed?
 MS: 
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.
 MM: 
Obviously getting more hitsis the goal, but what other thingsare you looking to accomplish withthe change?
 MS: 
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.
 MM: 
What did you do to determinethe isolation points that you wanted toocus on?
 MS: 
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.
 MM: 
What was it like to go back toground zero ater years o swingingyour bat a certain way?
 MS: 
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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