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May 13, 2015

Sandberg wants to see Herrera make more contact

The Rule 5 pick has struck out 15 times in May

Odubel Herrera hasn’t been making much contact lately at the plate. In 37 at-bats this month, he’s already struck out 15 times. For the season, his 26.2 percent strikeout rate is ranked 24th of 179 players according to This isn’t a good category to be ranked highly in.

On Tuesday, Ryne Sandberg was asked if he thought Herrera’s recent struggles have to do more with mechanical issues in his swing or opposing pitchers starting to make adjustments with more tape on the 23-year old. Just last year, Herrera was an infielder playing for the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas Rangers’ AA affiliate.

“I’d say a combination of the two,” Sandberg said. “He’s getting a little bit jumpy at home plate with his high leg kick and he’s got a lot of moving parts there. So if he gets a little off and in between pitches with the leg kick, he can get off of some certain pitches. He’s trying to shorten that up a little bit and think more on the fastball and react on the breaking pitch rather than be in between.”

Herrera’s numbers are concerning because with only one homer for the season (on Monday night off the Pirates’ Mark Melancon), he doesn’t possess the type of power that make all of those strikeouts tolerable. His manager thinks that part of the problem is that he’s trying too hard for the big swing.

“Also, [we want him to] just to go back to more of a contact type of a hitter, get on base, and use his speed which is a big asset,” Sandberg said.

A Rule 5 pick, Herrera has to stay on the 25-man roster for the entire year or the Phillies have to first place him on waivers and then offer him back to the Rangers for $25,000. Of all qualified players in the early portion of this season, he possesses the tenth-lowest BB/K ration at 0.16. For that reason, Sandberg is stressing more contact.

“Pitchers are going to adjust to him and he needs to make the adjustment also,” Sandberg said. “I think with a little bit shorter mental approach of getting on base, hard ground balls and line drives, and being a baserunner, that’d be a big asset for us.”

Minor League Report

LEHIGH VALLEY 6, Columbus 5: If Maikel Franco will indeed be in Philadelphia soon, he’ll come in riding high. He delivered a two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the IronPigs (10-23) a 6-5 victory. Cody Asche had an excellent return to triple-A, getting on base all five times (three walks and two singles) and not making any mistakes on very few chances in left field. Dom Brown went 2-4 with a triple, and David Buchanan surrendered all five runs (only three earned) in 6.2 innings.

Harrisburg 4, READING 1: Roman Quinn picked up two hits and a stolen base, but besides the speedster, there wasn’t much else of note offensively from the Fightin Phils (16-14). Zach Eflin picked up the loss, allowing four earned runs in six innings.

Charlotte 8, CLEARWATER 2: The Threshers (15-16) were supposed to play two seven-inning games to make up for yesterday’s postponement, but they could only squeeze in one due to rain. They’ll try to play two again tomorrow. J.P. Crawford went 1-3 with a single and walk in front of a man that knows a thing or two about hitting:

Chuck, don’t eat that! Be careful! They all got food poisoning down there the other day!

LAKEWOOD 9, Asheville 5: Carlos Tocci got on base three times, while Rhys Hoskins was only a double short of the cycle for the BlueClaws (15-16). Josh Taylor threw five innings for the win.