PHOENIX -- Ever since his strikeout rate reached a crisis point in St. Petersburg during the D-backs' last road trip, third baseman Mark Reynolds has developed a new pregame routine with hitting coach Jack Howell.
"Me and Jack have been in the cage every day since Tampa just working on staying short with my swing path," Reynolds said. "It's really helping out. It allows me to get to some pitches that I may normally not get to. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to stay consistent."
The numbers show the improvement. Since making the adjustments in his swing, Reynolds has hit .333 (8-for-24) with two homers, six RBIs and a 1.115 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
As for the strikeouts, they're still there, but not at the record pace. He's fanned six times while drawing five walks.
"The way my at-bats were going before, I had to make a change," Reynolds said.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson pointed to two recent at-bats as signs of improvement. The first was an 0-2 homer he hit off a Jonathan Broxton slider on July 3.
"I was able to stay inside it and put a good swing on it," Reynolds said. "Normally I might either swing through it or roll over it."
The other at-bat came in the third inning Monday against the Cubs when Reynolds fell behind 0-2, but managed to extend the at-bat to eight pitches before hitting the ball hard. Unfortunately for him it was right at the shortstop for a double play.
"He wasn't rewarded for everything he did, but that doesn't mean he should abandon that," Gibson said. "Today he went through the same routine again."