Notes: Ahmed 'on right track'; Crichton OK
As he worked his way back from patella tendinitis in his right knee, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed insisted that it was not something that was hampering him at the plate or in the field, but the more he looked at video while trying to diagnose what was causing his struggles at the plate this month, the more he realized that the knee was likely a bigger factor than he thought.
"What I’ve come to notice, I guess, just reflecting back on the last couple of months is that I’ve developed compensations that I couldn’t necessarily feel, and have to go about undoing those compensations now and get back to being the type of hitter I know I can be," Ahmed said. "To say that in the box it was affecting my ability to compete in the moment, that would be no. I wasn’t thinking about it or feeling it, but it definitely affected my swing and my mechanics to the point where the last week or so, I’ve really had to [put in] some good work and try to dig in and figure out what the root of the issue is."
Without getting too technical about his swing mechanics, the gist of the issue is that he wasn't getting the forward movement with his legs that he needed to make his swing work.
During the recent series with the Reds, the D-backs television broadcast showed Ahmed actually creeping back in the batter's box as he waited for the pitch.
"I can feel myself doing it," Ahmed said. "I don’t want to do it. It’s not something I am consciously trying to do. My feet are always kind of active, you know, part of my rhythm. Just being up there and moving and dancing with the pitcher. But they’ve been way more active than I’d like."
And his production at the plate has been way less than he would like as well. Entering Friday night's series opener with the Braves, Ahmed had a slash line of .075/.119/.194.
"I haven’t taken one swing where I felt, you know, ‘That was a good swing,’" Ahmed said. "It’s super frustrating. I’ve been grinding on video and the cage, and trying to get it figured out and locked in, but I haven’t been able to even have one thing click. It’s like banging your head against the wall."
Ahmed wasn't in the starting lineup on Friday, so he worked aggressively in the batting cage and felt like he finally may have figured out the issue.
"I sat back and reflected and just really tried to get to the root of it and figure out exactly what the root of it was," Ahmed said. "I showed up today with a different plan in how I was going to attack my work and it was like, boom, right away, this is right. As a hitter who has done it for a long time and doing this professionally for 11 years, you know when something is right and you know when something is wrong, and very quickly today I knew I was on the right track."
The D-backs optioned right-hander Riley Smith to the alternate training site and called up right-hander Matt Peacock.
The three-game series with the Reds taxed Arizona's bullpen and Smith pitched on Thursday, so the team wanted to add Peacock, a fresh arm, who can give multiple innings out of the bullpen if needed.
Peacock made his big league debut earlier this year and made three appearances out of the bullpen.
Reliever Stefan Crichton, who had to leave Thursday's game after being hit on his throwing hand by a comebacker, had X-rays taken postgame that were negative. He played catch on Friday afternoon and manager Torey Lovullo said that he was available to pitch.