Long tries to “fix” Granderson’s woes against lefties

Let’s continue the unintentional Curtis Granderson theme on the day.

Prior to camp, Granderson had visited hitting instructor, Kevin Long, in Arizona in order to pick Long’s esteemed brain about hitting and, specifically, hitting left-handers. “I wanted to get a philosophy that he had going before I got down to spring training and all of a sudden he wanted to change a bunch of things,” Granderson said when asked about the visit. “I am not opposed to change, but once I get here I am ready to go. I wanted to make sure we were getting on the same page. He didn’t want me to change anything. He didn’t want me to bat right-handed all of a sudden.”

With that said, what, exactly, did Long think was the cause of Granderson’s southpaw struggles – he owns a career .210/.270/.344 line against them – and, more importantly, what did he suggest to correct or lessen the issue?

Here’s more on that via the NY Post‘s George King:

“It was nothing major because his mechanics are good. It’s just that with his upper body against lefties, he tilts a bit,” Long said. “That coils him in on the front side and that doesn’t enable him to use his hands. You want him to stay on the ball more and hit it in the left-center field gap.”

“He told me that, mechanically, everything was great against right-handers, and against left-handers I broke down a little bit,” Granderson said. “I get over the plate a little bit and try to hit the ball the other way and break down. As you try to coil up a little bit, you are going to uncoil. If you start yourself open, you are going to close. [Long's philosophy] is, stay straight. That position puts you in a better situation to be successful.”

This is pretty interesting because, based on Granderson’s poor numbers against lefties, especially those from last season, it seemed that he was attempting to pull everything, which resulted in an alarming number of innocuous fly balls (infield pop-ups, in particular). However, if he was aware of his own dramatic split against lefties, perhaps he was trying too hard to cover the outer portion of the plate when facing them. This then can explain his woes (in part).

Long believes Granderson can “fix” the problem, though, and is not worried about him in 2010:

“I’m not too concerned about it,” Long said. “I really feel like he’s going to have a good year and that is not even going to be an issue. And you know what? We’re not going to make it an issue.

“We’re going to be positive about it, work on it. Half of it might be the battle of, ‘People don’t think I can do it.’ If we get him over that obstacle, we can go from there.”

I agree with Long. Not only is Granderson too good of a hitter to not bounce back against left-handed pitching this season, but his numbers versus lefties were so poor in 2009 that they would be hard for him to duplicate again.

Photo by the AP