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Broxton brings new batting stance to big leagues

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Patience paid off for Keon Broxton. So did a significant change to his batting stance.

Broxton was back in the big leagues Wednesday after a rain-delayed overnight arrival in Milwaukee. He went right to work in center field in place of an injured Lorenzo Cain, the free-agent addition whose late-January arrival was one big factor in Broxton beginning this season with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

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MILWAUKEE -- Patience paid off for Keon Broxton. So did a significant change to his batting stance.

Broxton was back in the big leagues Wednesday after a rain-delayed overnight arrival in Milwaukee. He went right to work in center field in place of an injured Lorenzo Cain, the free-agent addition whose late-January arrival was one big factor in Broxton beginning this season with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

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"I can't say it wasn't hard," Broxton said. "But every day, I show up with a job to do for myself."

That job included another major adjustment to Broxton's batting stance related to the position of his hands. He dropped them in 2016 with smashing success, leading to regular duty for the Brewers in '17, when he was one of Major League Baseball's nine 20-homer, 20-stolen base players.

But Broxton also had MLB's highest strikeout rate at 37.8 percent, so change was needed.

"Down there, you get a lot of different things thrown at you," Broxton said, "so it was a lot of fun to make adjustments on a day-to-day basis [based on] how they were pitching me compared to how they were pitching me last year in the big leagues. I got a new perspective on the game.

"I think last year I wasn't getting as much offspeed, just because I wasn't able to catch up to the fastball with the setup that I had. I moved my hands back up. They had to naturally move back up to catch up to the fastballs I was missing. This game is really big on adjustments."

It won't take a hitting coach to see the difference, according to Broxton.

"I think I'm starting to realize that I'm always a guy who has to make drastic adjustments from time to time," Broxton said. "That's something I'm learning about myself."

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell can relate, as he adopted one of baseball's oddest batting stances in 2000, after he'd signed with the D-backs, raising his hands high in the air as the pitcher prepared to deliver.

Broxton's positioning is nowhere near as extreme, but it's the same idea. Find a good hitting position when it's time to swing.

"Cal Ripken Jr. is the best example of a guy who showed up with a different stance every single season, and he's a Hall of Fame player," Counsell said. "Carl Yastrzemski had noticeable differences in his stance. I think some guys have to do it to stop something and try to get a feeling back, or stop a feeling. Keon happens to be one of those guys."

Video: The origins of Counsell's unique batting stance

Broxton hit .263/.336/.431 with 13 doubles and nine home runs in 295 plate appearances with Colorado Springs. He only marginally reduced his strikeout rate, to 35.6 percent.

Broxton had to bide his time while other Triple-A teammates, including fellow outfielder Brett Phillips, were called up. Domingo Santana's demotion last week, coupled with Cain's injury, opened an opportunity.

"I definitely wanted to be here," Broxton said. "You can't just sit there and see guys going up and want to stay where I was. I wanted to be here. That was a big focus of mine."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Keon Broxton