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Steverson focused on approach of White Sox hitters

CHICAGO -- The 2013 White Sox offense stood as the American League's worst, scoring just 598 runs.

But under hitting coach Todd Steverson, with the new regime starting Monday against the Twins on Opening Day, the White Sox hope the approach will be different.

"Overall, it has been a good progression to this point," Steverson said. "Once everybody gets a hold of being able to be confident and go up there and stick to their plan, that will in my opinion kind of roll into us being able to see pitches, go deeper into counts.

"Take our fair share of walks. Barrel up some balls that are out over the plate that we want to hit and become an offense that is dangerous. Controlling the count a little earlier in the at-bat, where you get your pitch and don't put your pitch in play. Go deeper into the pitcher's pitch count."

Steverson noticed during Spring Training that there were a few instances of hitters swinging at borderline 3-2 pitches where they could have taken walks. As shown from his previous comments, though, it's not all about strictly working the count. If the best pitch is the first pitch, then go after it.

It's a greater focus on approach than mechanics with Steverson, according to White Sox captain Paul Konerko.

"He knows the swing and the mechanics and that stuff if it needs to go there, but I think he focuses more on what you are looking for, what you swung at," said Konerko. "A lot of times if you dissect those things, you don't even get to, 'My swing is messed up' or 'We need to fix this.' When you fix those things and have a clear picture of what you are doing there, you take good swings a lot of times.

"If you are swinging at bad pitches and putting yourself in a hole 1-2 or 0-2, even with a great swing, you are not going to hit in this league. That's where the focus is a lot of times: definitely with runners in scoring position. Heightening that thought about what you are looking for and being real selective on your approach has been something in Spring Training.

"Inevitably during the season, every guy probably has a little tinkering and a little bit of mechanical stuff going on here and there that you have to monitor. He's got that too in his pocket," Konerko said. "You can't ask a question he's not answering right away. He doesn't have to go look it up. He's really together on his thoughts."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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