GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After hitting a career-low .213 with a .610 OPS in Cincinnati last season, outfielder Drew Stubbs went home to Texas looking to make some changes. He spent the winter working with Ronnie Ortegon, the Reds' new assistant hitting coach, and junked his leg kick in favor of a more abbreviated toe tap that he will use as a trigger mechanism in his swing.
Stubbs is hoping to emulate the success of former Arizona Fall League teammate Austin Jackson, who took a major step forward as a hitter after jettisoning his leg kick for a toe tap. Jackson raised his batting average from .249 to .300 and cut his strikeout total markedly in 137 games with Detroit.
"When things are going good and you have a leg kick, it's great," Stubbs said. "When you're not, it's a scramble. For a lot of last year, that was the case with me. I said, 'I have to find something to simplify my swing and be able to repeat it.' I kind of rededicated myself after a rough year, trying to get myself back to where I know I should be."
The Indians acquired Stubbs as part of a three-team, nine-player trade with Cincinnati and Arizona in December. Stubbs initially was expected to play center field in Cleveland but will move to right with the arrival of free-agent signee Michael Bourn. After striking out a whopping 539 times from 2010-2012, Stubbs is intent on doing a better job of putting the ball in play and taking better advantage of his speed this season.