Andrew Benintendi homered to right in his first at-bat against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
The trip around the bases was nice. But for Benintendi, the third at-bat of the day stood out when the Chicago White left fielder reached on a fielder’s choice on a ball fielded by shortstop Miguel Rojas.
“My last at-bat was the bat I was most excited about, hitting a ball to the six-hole,” Benintendi said Saturday. “(Rojas) made a nice play.
“That’s what I was trying to do. Focus on what I’m trying to do instead of results. Because if you chase results in spring training, it is just going to (tick) you off.”
Benintendi said his swing “feels pretty good” as he ramps up for the season.
“This spring more than others, I’m not really focused on results as much as feel,” he said. “I feel like I’m recognizing pitches, not getting fooled too many times.
“(It’s) just stick with an approach, kind of stay inside the ball. For me, at least, my feedback is how I hit the ball. If it’s like topspin, that’s the last thing I want to see. I’m just trying to backspin balls and hit line drives.”
Benintendi saw that in the leadoff home run, his first of the spring.
“That was perfect,” he said. “I’ve been working on trying to pull the ball to the right side in the air. That was perfect backspin, so that was good to see.”
Benintendi is hitting .208 this spring but has four hits, four walks and two RBIs in his last six games. He had an RBI single on a liner to left against the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday in Goodyear, Ariz.
Benintendi, 28, is in his first season with the Sox after signing a five-year deal announced in early January. He finished sixth in the American League with a .304 average last season for the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees.
Sox manager Pedro Grifol said there’s a trust factor and strong communication with a veteran like Benintendi, who is entering his eighth season.
“I don’t look for anything with (Benintendi’s spring offensive approach),” Grifol said Sunday. “I’m comfortable with what he tells me.”
The two were together during Benintendi’s time with the Royals in 2021-22.
“He knows his swing, he knows the way he feels,” Grifol said. “If he tells me he’s in a good spot, he’s in a good spot. The only thing I do is sometimes I’ll challenge him a little bit. I think he played four days in a row with one rain date (on Wednesday). And he’ll never say, ‘No, I don’t want to play.’
“He’s always ready to play and he’ll play as much as you want him to play. He’s a good communicator and he knows his body. He’s a professional. He’s been around the block a few times. Whatever he’s telling me, I’m completely comfortable with it and trust him.”
While Benintendi led off Saturday, he has hit third in most games this spring. Wherever he’s slotted in the order, Benintendi said, “nothing changes.”
“My approach stays the same,” he said. “If I hit third, I wish it automatically got me 35 home runs, but that’s not going to happen. Nothing changes — (the approach is) line drives.”
With the end of camp in sight, Benintendi is focused on continuing to see progress.
“At this point everybody’s legs are starting to get under them,” Benintendi said. “That initial soreness and things like that is moving out, and this next week and a half, yeah, full throttle. Get ready to go.”
As reported by Boston Herald
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Author: Amnon Jakony |
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