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Rollins Credits Hitting Coaches McGwire and Valentin For Recent Surge

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers went out and acquired Jimmy Rollins, the shortstop knew what he was getting himself into. In a difficult situation playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, the 36 year old needed a change of scenery. What Rollins has found in Los Angeles may not be what he envisioned, however.

Throughout the season the 15-year veteran has been moved to multiple spots in the lineup, which was a result of an ongoing slump he couldn’t quite manage to break out of. To his credit, Rollins hasn’t complained about the situation and on multiple occasions voiced confidence he would emerge from the rut.

Just over two weeks ago, the switch-hitting shortstop put together a modest five-game hitting streak; the stretch included at least one hit in six of seven games. The improved results were linked to Rollins receiving aid from Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire and assistant hitting coach John Valentin, according to J.P. Hoornstra of LA Daily News:

We all three sat down and really broke it down,” Rollins stated. “Especially Val being a switch hitter, he knows what it’s like because he was a pull hitter and later in his career he learned to hit the ball the other way what it took for him to do it and those drills. It helps to have a guy who knows what it’s like to have both sides.”

Rollins added he’s found more difficult recently in finding a solution to stop pulling the ball with as much frequency:

That’s nothing new,” he said, “it’s just that I was able to overcome it somehow. This year, the last couple years, it’s been more and more of a struggle to overcome it. Unfortunately it has to happen during the season.”

While Rollins has cooled a bit since the small hitting streak, he’s continued to put better swings on the ball and had them find holes with slightly more regularity than the early stages of the season.

Rollins was particularly hot during the four-game series against his former club, going 5-for-16 with one home run, two doubles and five RBIs. Heading into play Sunday he’s batting .213/.303/.419.

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