<
>

Cubs' Jason Heyward breaks out of slump after starting 0-for-15

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's not exactly a hot streak in mid-July, but Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward will undoubtedly take whatever he can get as he continues a swing makeover which began in the offseason.

Heyward homered and doubled on Monday against the Angels for his first two hits of the Cactus League after starting 0-for-15. Afterward, he was asked if his slow start was getting to him even though it's spring training.

"0-for-15 will get [to] you whenever," Heyward said with a smile. "It was really good to react and not miss a pitch in the zone."

Heyward took almost no time off after last season's Cubs World Series victory, choosing to rework a swing that saw his batting average drop to .230 last season, the second lowest of his career. He hit just seven home runs before being benched in the playoffs. On Monday, he followed up his home run with a fourth-inning double to left field off Angels lefty Greg Mahle.

"I'm in love with that one," Heyward said. "Those are much tougher to come by, especially with two outs. It's good to get back-to-back tough lefties."

Heyward is trying to recapture a stance and swing he used in 2012 when he hit 27 home runs for the Atlanta Braves. He has lowered his hands and tried to shorten his swing. Monday was a step in the right direction.

"Every day in BP I feel amazing," Heyward said. "It's just putting it together in game speed."

Heyward signed with the Cubs before last season for eight years and $184 million and won a Gold Glove despite his offensive struggles.