A Chat with Garey Ingram

Garey Ingram is in his sixth professional season as a hitting coach in the Los Angeles Dodger's organization. When I spoke with him, I was impressed with his articulate knowledge of the game, illustrating that many of the Great Lakes Loons hitters are going to learn many facets of the professional game this season.

I sat and talked to Ingram about the progress of these players in the first half of the season as well as his overall coaching philosophy.

CH: If you would, could you comment on the offensive progress from the beginning of the season? At this point, the team seems to be hitting the ball better than they were at the beginning. Was it because of the cold weather?

GI: I think that that had a little factor in it. A lot of these guys are from warm weather states and they were just cold, like everyone else in this league. But you really cannot use that as an excuse because everybody else is dealing with the same. We knew that when it started warming up, these guys's bats would start warming up as well.

CH: What about a guy like Carlos Santana who is struggling this year after putting up some nice offensive numbers earlier in his career? What do you try working on with him?

GI: This guy can hit, and like Josh Bell started off real slow and he turned it on. Our main guys weren't hitting early on like [David] Sutherland, Josh Bell, and Carlos Santana.

Santana just got back to playing again, he was out for a little bit and his bat is going to heat up. I think all we can do is getting him out there, hitting early, getting his swings in and getting his timing back.

You guys haven't seen the best of Santana, you've seen him throw pretty well [behind the plate] but his hitting is going to come around. We need to be patient with that.

CH: And for someone like Trayvon Robinson who only begun switch hitting last year? What do you work with him as far as being more comfortable from the left side of the plate?

GI: With Trayvon, he's going to have to use all weapons of his game which is bunting, taking some pitches, hitting the ball the other way, hitting ground balls and keeping the ball out of the air. And if he can do all those things with his speed, he's going to create a lot of havoc.

He's a young kid, probably hasn't played in front of this many people before. I think he's doing a pretty good job, he started off hot and he cooled off and with him, like everyone else, do some extra bunting and making sure he stays short to the baseball.

Sometimes he tends to swing at pitches out of the zone but that's normal at this level.

CH: What would you say is your overall coaching philosophy?

GI: My main philosophy? I really like to teach the kids to use their hands the proper way because a lot of times you get kids that come out of college that have those upper cut swings because in college you use those light 28 ounce bats but hitting with a wooden bat is night and day from hitting with aluminum.

I like to teach them to hit with solid contact because if you hit with solid contact, your ratio of getting a lot of hits is going to be pretty high than if you're up there, just swinging out of your heels.

Basically, I just keep it real simple, see the ball, throw your hands at the ball and make it solid contact. And we have a lot of guys that, if they start doing that, they are going to start hitting more homeruns, they're going to start driving the ball more and their averages are going to be higher.

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