Sox benefiting from Nunez's power surge

Reliable, versatile infielder has 6 HRs since joining club at Deadline

August 24th, 2017

CLEVELAND -- When the Red Sox acquired from the Giants a month ago, his power was far from their minds. They were focused on his defensive versatility, his ability to hit line drives and the overall energy he would bring to a team that needed a little boost at the time.
Nunez has provided all those ingredients and an unexpected power surge that continued in Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the Indians.
In his first 22 games with Boston, Nunez has clubbed six home runs in 101 at-bats. This after hitting four for the Giants in 302 at-bats before the trade.
So what happened?
"I don't know -- maybe the food," quipped Nunez. "I just put a good swing on the ball and the ball just carried."

Nunez was speaking of the two-run shot he hit in the ninth to pad the lead. But he's been getting a lot of carry on the ball.
"Yeah, I've been working out and I've changed my approach the last three years," said Nunez. "And everyday playing time made a difference."
What are the changes in approach?
"For the last two years, I've learned more [top-hand] than before," said Nunez. "Before I was more down, line-drive hitting, or ground ball to the opposite field, so I changed my approach."
It started paying dividends for Nunez last year, when he belted a career-high 16 homers with the Twins and Giants.

"We have a little camp in the Dominican with [], [], [], all those guys, and we have a hitting coach, that's Luis Merced over there," said Nunez. "And we figured out that on an inside pitch, I tried to hit the ball to the right field, so we decided to pull the ball. We decided it's better to pull the ball and I decided to change my approach."
The Red Sox are reaping the benefits, as Nunez has served as a catalyst during their best stretch this season.
Boston is 73-53 and has played at a 17-6 clip since the first day Nunez was inserted into the lineup. With the Red Sox, Nunez is slashing .337/.368/.584.
"I don't know that we were thinking home run when we got him," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We needed to add to our offense, which, let's face it, in the month of July, we were stagnant. He's done that and the power certainly has been there. He's such a good high-ball hitter and that's where a lot of those home runs have come from, pitches up."
The timing couldn't be better. With spending most of the last month serving multiple stints on the disabled list, Nunez has been at second base nearly every day.
"Nuney has been outstanding," said Farrell. "He played a position that he as the least number of games played on the infield [in his career] at second base and is doing a very good job there. He's a threat from the first pitch of the game."