Pagan, Schierholtz make strides at plate

March 29, 2012, 1:04 am
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Giants manager Bruce Bochy saw a bunchof tired, overworked hitters the past week. So he locked the cages Wednesdaymorning, pushed back the workout by a half hour and limited drills to defensivestuff on a back field.

The Giants didnt exactly bust out in a 4-1 victory over thebillion-dollar Los Angeles Dodgers, but a couple of their struggling hittersshowed signs of life.

Angel Pagan lined a double for the second consecutive day his two-bagger on Tuesday broke an 0-for-24 streak and said he felt betterafter making a mechanical tweak. And Nate Schierholtz, who still hasnt sewn upthe starting right field job, hit a two-run home run to the opposite field.Schierholtz also threw out a runner trying to go from first to third on asingle.

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Hes been working hard and he got better swings today,Bochy said of Schierholtz. Its time for all of us to swing the bat better.

Schierholtz got six at-bats in minor league camp on Tuesdayand that might have helped his timing at the plate. Pagan did the same thing aweek earlier and will go back to load up on at-bats in the minors again as earlyas Thursday.

Bochy said Pagan has had a couple rough springs and welooked into that. I talked to him about that. He says hes feeling better.

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Pagan probably wasnt in danger of losing his job as theGiants leadoff hitter and center fielder, but club officials were beginning toworry as his average plummeted near the .170 mark. They also have a worthyalternative in non-roster outfielder Gregor Blanco, who has been the surpriseof camp.

Although his body language didnt always send the samemessage, Pagan said he was never truly worried.

To me its not about results, he said, denying he knew aboutthe 0-for-24. Im feeling better at the right time. I just want to feelcomfortable and not feeling youre jumping at the plate.

Pagan watched video from 2010 and realized he had changedhis hands.

I made that adjustment and its a great sign, Pagan said. Imseeing the ball really good and my timing is perfect. I just had to get mymechanics right.

Obviously, I wasnt feeling great but I wasnt worriedbecause I work too hard. I know Im going to get that feeling. To me, its veryimportant to feel good at the end of spring, and I do now.

Assuming Pagan is the leadoff man on April 6, hell get thehonor of being in the batters box for the first pitch of the season.

This is my fourth (opening day) as a leadoff hitter and Imvery proud of myself that Ive been this far, he said. I take a lot of pridein that first day. I play with my heart and hopefully the fans like it and itswhat we need to win a championship.

It seems like everybody is committed to win and thats agreat attitude.

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