Altered swing has Revere off to hot start

Nationals center fielder keeping hands close to his body

March 9th, 2016

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ben Revere sat down to study his swing during the offseason, hoping to get back to driving the ball in the gap, when he noticed his hands were too far away from his body.

The Nationals center fielder has focused on keeping his hands close to his body, and although it is early, Revere has already been able to tell the difference. After a pair of hits during Wednesday's 11-5 loss to the Tigers, he is 5-for-10 this spring with three runs scored, a double and a rare home run, which Revere compared to finding a four-leaf clover (he has four homers in six seasons in the Majors).

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"The sound of the ball off my bat is a lot louder than it used to be," he said.

Revere believes the mechanical tweak will especially help him on inside pitches, where he was getting jammed and rolling over inside pitches. Count the Nationals coaches and others, including Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, among those who have noticed. Revere recalled Cabrera telling him he just missed one while rounding first on a fly out to start the game.

"It's a good feeling… but of course the coaches don't want me to do that. I don't want to do it, either," Revere said. "My game is to hit line drives, hit ground balls and get on base… I'm seeing the ball good. Swing doing well and just trying to keep that rhythm to the season starts."

One of Revere's goals at the start of the spring was to get off to a hot start in April, when he's hit .243/.276/.289 with a .565 OPS, by far the worst month on average in his career. Whether Revere's hot start can translate to the start of the season, however, remains to be seen.

"I've seen guys kill the ball in Spring Training and go into the season and can't find a hit," he said. "I've seen guys struggle and come out swinging. It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

• Infielder Brendan Ryan left Wednesday's game for precautionary reasons after he "felt something," manager Dusty Baker said, although he wouldn't elaborate. Ryan entered in the bottom of the sixth, but was out by the bottom of the seventh.