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Lamb focusing on hitting, ignoring stats

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By his own standards, Jake Lamb's spring has been a bit slow at the plate. Early spring stats mean very little, but after 25 at-bats through Friday's game, he's 110 points below his career Spring Training average.

Most players are far more focused on their own mechanics and timing, than they are on the results of their Cactus League at-bats, so it's natural for a player like Lamb to take time settling into his groove after four months of down time. As he works to prepare for a season where he can deliver the full package, his focus has been omnidirectional.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By his own standards, Jake Lamb's spring has been a bit slow at the plate. Early spring stats mean very little, but after 25 at-bats through Friday's game, he's 110 points below his career Spring Training average.

Most players are far more focused on their own mechanics and timing, than they are on the results of their Cactus League at-bats, so it's natural for a player like Lamb to take time settling into his groove after four months of down time. As he works to prepare for a season where he can deliver the full package, his focus has been omnidirectional.

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"I'm trying to clean up some stuff at the plate, on defense, get better at base running," Lamb said. "I'm trying to get better at all aspects of the game."

Over the past two seasons, Lamb has been a solid threat in the middle of the order, hitting 29 and 30 home runs in 2016 and 2017, while driving in 91 and 105 runs, respectively. He capped the season hitting .462 (6-for-13) in the playoffs.

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"Jake Lamb was such a huge contributor to this team last year," manager Torey Lovullo said. "Without him, we don't win."

Lamb provided that power, while hitting .248. The biggest hole in his game has been his at-bats against left-handed pitchers, whom he hits at a .159 pace, as opposed to a career .273 average against right-handers.

"If I'm going to give him a day off, it will probably be against a lefty, but he's not a platoon player," Lovullo said. "He's going to get his ABs against righties and lefties and play a complete season."

Lovullo has been seeing the progress that comes with a player finding his footing in the big leagues, calling his third baseman, "poised and ready and working hard to have an exceptional year and build on things that he did last year."

Video: ARI@MIL: Lamb crushes a solo home run to right field

While it may not be showing up in the stats yet, Lamb's work to "clean up some stuff" at the plate shows up even in his hard outs, or in his ability to go the other way and beat the shift, as he did Wednesday against the Reds, driving an RBI single to left.

"I'm watching those improvements every single day," Lovullo said. "I watched him take BP off [Triple-A manager and left-hander Greg Gross] yesterday, and his approach looks solid. The things that he's working on were very productive in BP. I know that he's connecting a couple dots. You can tell by some of the things that he's saying and how he's transitioning that into his at-bats to have some success during the games."

One thing Lamb isn't spending much time thinking about is how the new humidor baseballs will affect his power numbers. The Rockies have used a humidor since 2002 to restore baseballs to original specifications given their propensity to get lighter and harder in the dry climate. The practice hasn't slowed down Lamb, who has more RBIs at Coors Field than any other road park, and his four home runs in 105 at-bats match the most he has hit in a single park over the course of his career. 

"You're going to have parks where the ball flies, and the ball doesn't fly," Lamb said, noting he doesn't see a difference in Colorado with the humidor or Arizona without it. "Any given day might be a little bit different. I don't really look into that stuff. There'll be days where the ball's flying out, and there'll be days where it's just kind of normal.

"What am I going to do?" he laughed. "Nothing."

What he can do -- and wants to do -- is get into the rhythm of the season with everyday play and big league pitchers allowing him to put his back field work into action when it matters.

"I feel like I'm ready to go," Lamb said. "Ready to start playing some back-to-back games coming up. Ready to get the season started."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Jake Lamb