Tito on Lindor: 'He's wise beyond his years'

Young star talks mental approach to breaking out of slump after 2-hit night

June 21st, 2017

BALTIMORE -- Prior to Tuesday night's game, told local RBI participants that the most important thing when dealing with a slump is to stay positive and to keep swinging because a slump can't be broken by taking pitches. Just a few hours later, the young shortstop took his own advice.

In the Indians' 6-5 loss to the Orioles, Lindor, who ranks second among American League shortstops in voting for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, showed positive signs of breaking out of his recent rut at the plate after leading off the game with a single to left and then fouling off three pitches to win an eight-pitch at-bat in the fourth for a two-RBI double.

"Better," Indians' manager Terry Francona said of Lindor's approach at the plate. "First inning, you could tell he was trying to hit the ball the other way. Then the at-bat he hit the double, he fouled off a lot of pitches to stay alive until he could get a pitch he could handle. I thought there was a lot of progress there."

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In the Indians' 18-hit, 12-run game against the Orioles on Monday, Lindor was the only starter who didn't record a base hit, but Francona still found something impressive in the team's young rising star.

"By his demeanor, anybody in this ballpark would have never known [Lindor wasn't hitting]," Francona said. "He was enthusiastic, and for a younger player, that's a big compliment. And that's what I told him. He's going to have his days. He's too good. When it's not going the way you necessarily want it to, you know, the way he's acting, in my opinion, that's kind of what stars do. … He's kind of wise beyond his years."

Lindor's lesson to the RBI kids was not for show. The young shortstop, who admits that his month-long slump has been difficult -- he hit a mere .176 in the first 16 games in June after starting the season hot with a .309 average in April -- but he tries to find the positives in every situation that he is thrown into.

"Yeah [the mental aspect is the toughest part of slumps], but at the same time it's fun," Lindor said. "Because you know you're going to come out of it eventually. … It's only going to teach me how to be a better hitter. To understand what I am doing. To understand what I have to do on a daily basis. Be a better hitter and a better player overall."

After Tuesday night's performance, the 23-year-old shortstop could be heating up in the middle of a competitive All-Star Game race. After the latest ballot update, the shortstop trails only in the standings.

"It's pretty special. I thank the fans and everybody that voted for me. It's really special," Lindor said of receiving over 1,300,000 votes. "It shows that the fans are there. They gave me a lot of support. I really appreciate it. I play the game for them. I really do this for them, and it's a blessing."