Neil Walker says scrapped toe tap has aided success against lefties

CLEVELAND -- Mets second baseman Neil Walker hit only .237 and had no homers in 93 at-bats against left-handed pitching while with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season.

This year, the switch-hitting Walker is off to a 5-for-9 start against southpaws. Walker even went deep against a left-hander in Friday's 6-5 win against the Cleveland Indians. His solo homer versus Ross Detwiler capped a three-homer, five-run fifth.

"For me, it's simplifying things," Walker said. "A lot of things we worked on in spring training are coming to fruition for me. It's still early. It's still a small sample size. But the things I'm working on are helping me in the box right now. More than anything, it's about getting that barrel on the ball. In this early going, it's been good. It used to be the other way around in the early going."

What's different this year?

Walker suggested it has to do with eliminating a toe tap when he bats right-handed.

"I got rid of my toe tap," Walker said. "So far it's been a good point for me from a timing standpoint when I have a toe tap from the left side. It was hard for me to maintain it from the right side for many years. Going into this last offseason, that was a big point for me. ... It's gotten me into a much better rhythm than I have been in the past."