Brewers think less is more for Francisco

Juan Francisco, whose awful second half slump has called into question whether he will fit the Brewers’ plan for 2014, debuted a subtle change in his batting stance on Sunday night that manager Ron Roenicke believes will play dividends in the future.

“He’s not going with the leg kick right now. I don’t know — that was a really good at-bat,” Roenicke said, referring to Francisco’s groundout as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. “He saw the ball well and he ended up smoking a ball for an out, but he hit it well. I think if he does that, I’m excited about that stance and what I think can happen with that stance.”

The idea is to eliminate unnecessary movement in a swing that has produced 134 strikeouts — and 18 home runs — in 338 at-bats this season for the Braves and Brewers. Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron hopes Francisco continues working on the adjustment in the Dominican Winter League.

“Johnny showed him some film of some of these great hitters,” Roenicke said. “He showed him [Albert] Pujols and how he goes with that wide stance, doesn’t stride. These big guys, if you look at a lot of them ,they don’t do much. There’s hardly any action going on. Look at [Joey] Votto, there’s not much going on. David Ortiz, there’s not a whole lot going on. [Francisco], he likes [Edwin] Encarnacion because they’re friends. Encarnacion has a little leg kick, but it’s just up and down real quick. A lot of these big, strong guys are really quiet, really simple. I think he should be one of those guys that’s able to do that. He’s so strong, he’s still going to hit balls 500 feet doing that, but he’s going to square them up more often.”

Who approached whom?

“Well, sometimes you can wait around and wait for the player to come to you, and sometimes you’re proactive. We needed to be proactive,” Roenicke said. “We had talked at the very beginning about it, and it’s not just us. He’s got his own teammates telling him the same thing. The guys that he respects and listens to, they’re telling him the same thing.”


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