Johnson Turning Things Around

Cody Johnson has seen his fair share of struggles at the plate for a designated hitter. The left handed batter has been having a hard time catching up to pitches and executing his timing on the fastball. Johnson is working his way out of his struggles through some simple mechanical work on his swing and hand position, and is now on his way to turning things around at the plate.

"I made some physical and mental adjustments at the plate to my approach and it has been paying off in the past couple of games," Cody Johnson said before his three-hit game on Friday.

"I've been giving myself a much better chance of hitting it in play compared to the first month and a half. Fastballs that I had been missing I am now putting in play and some of them are going out of the ballpark."

Johnson, who not only leads the Thunder in home runs with ten but currently has a season high eight-game hit streak going, is having better plate appearances than he was at the beginning of the season where he struck out often.

""Nobody likes to strike out because you're only human," said Thunder manager Tony Franklin. "In Cody's defense, he worked very diligently to try to find an answer to the problem."

That answer came in the form of some self evaluation, and a little mechanical work.

"My problems were physical and mental. I was trying to do too much at the plate. I was missing pitches and swinging at pitches that I didn't need to be," said Johnson. "With fastballs, when I was on time, I was fouling them off instead of putting them into play.

"I was just really struggling to get on top of the fastball. This past week or so though I have been able to get on the fastball better and give myself a better chance out there. I am also recognizing pitches better then what I was.

"I've always had a really big hitch in my swing and the hitting coach told me to make myself uncomfortable, to do something different. It was something I just felt comfortable with when I did it.

"If I keep my hands lower, that only allows them to go up. Pretty much my whole career I have been struggling with this hitch. This helped me eliminate everything into one movement, and that split second is what you need to be able to catch up with a fastball and being able to recognize a good pitch from a bad pitch. It also helps me pull the trigger on the ball and be able to hit it."

Franklin is happy that Johnson is now seeing improved performance at the plate.

"It clicked for him, it worked. Sometimes you try to do different things and you give him a shot to work and it did," he said. "It doesn't always happen this way, but we made the suggestion to Cody that he should drop his hands and he has been facing many more quality at-bats with fewer strikeouts."

Johnson admits that being the DH can be challenging at times, especially for someone new to the position, but that he is trying his best to work out of the early season worries.

"It's tough to be the DH sometimes," he said. "I've never done this before and coming from a National League team where I played the field, it's been a big adjustment. When you're going good, you feel good. Nothing really matters at that point what you're doing. Having to sit on the bench and think about what was going on can get to you.

"I am trying to figure out how to adjust to everything. It is definitely something I would rather learn young. If being a DH with this organization is going to be my ticket to the big leagues one day then I am going to do it and take advantage of it. You look at guys like Jim Thome and David Ortiz who have embraced the position and found their own niche.

"I am trying to figure mine out on-the-fly. I just need to figure out a routine that works for me and keeps me in the game. You just need to be able to focus on the game, but also at the same time, not think about it too much."

Franklin also knows that Johnson could fall into a nice groove, and put up big numbers for the Thunder.

"He could really take off," Franklin said prior to Johnson's season best three-hit performance. "There are always going to be some peaks and valleys and we are just trying to help him maintain what he is doing right now."

When it comes down to it, Johnson's approach will be the biggest step to having a successful season.

"I am trying to just really have a consistent season," he said. "I want to stay healthy. My biggest thing is keeping a consistent approach.

"I think I finally found something that I am comfortable with that I need to be able to stick through. It doesn't matter if I have a good day or a bad day, I just need to stick through with it. That's why we play 140 games."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I made some physical and mental adjustments at the plate to my approach and it has been paying off in the past couple of games,\" Cody Johnson said before his three-hit game on Friday.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been giving myself a much better chance of hitting it in play compared to the first month and a half. Fastballs that I had been missing I am now putting in play and some of them are going out of the ballpark.\"
\r\n
\r\nJohnson, who not only leads the Thunder in home runs with ten but currently has a season high eight-game hit streak going, is having better plate appearances than he was at the beginning of the season where he struck out often.
\r\n
\r\n\"\"Nobody likes to strike out because you're only human,\" said Thunder manager Tony Franklin. \"In Cody's defense, he worked very diligently to try to find an answer to the problem.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat answer came in the form of some self evaluation, and a little mechanical work.
\r\n
\r\n\"My problems were physical and mental. I was trying to do too much at the plate. I was missing pitches and swinging at pitches that I didn't need to be,\" said Johnson. \"With fastballs, when I was on time, I was fouling them off instead of putting them into play.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was just really struggling to get on top of the fastball. This past week or so though I have been able to get on the fastball better and give myself a better chance out there. I am also recognizing pitches better then what I was.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've always had a really big hitch in my swing and the hitting coach told me to make myself uncomfortable, to do something different. It was something I just felt comfortable with when I did it.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I keep my hands lower, that only allows them to go up. Pretty much my whole career I have been struggling with this hitch. This helped me eliminate everything into one movement, and that split second is what you need to be able to catch up with a fastball and being able to recognize a good pitch from a bad pitch. It also helps me pull the trigger on the ball and be able to hit it.\"
\r\n
\r\nFranklin is happy that Johnson is now seeing improved performance at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"It clicked for him, it worked. Sometimes you try to do different things and you give him a shot to work and it did,\" he said. \"It doesn't always happen this way, but we made the suggestion to Cody that he should drop his hands and he has been facing many more quality at-bats with fewer strikeouts.\"
\r\n
\r\nJohnson admits that being the DH can be challenging at times, especially for someone new to the position, but that he is trying his best to work out of the early season worries.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's tough to be the DH sometimes,\" he said. \"I've never done this before and coming from a National League team where I played the field, it's been a big adjustment. When you're going good, you feel good. Nothing really matters at that point what you're doing. Having to sit on the bench and think about what was going on can get to you.
\r\n
\r\n\"I am trying to figure out how to adjust to everything. It is definitely something I would rather learn young. If being a DH with this organization is going to be my ticket to the big leagues one day then I am going to do it and take advantage of it. You look at guys like Jim Thome and David Ortiz who have embraced the position and found their own niche.
\r\n
\r\n\"I am trying to figure mine out on-the-fly. I just need to figure out a routine that works for me and keeps me in the game. You just need to be able to focus on the game, but also at the same time, not think about it too much.\"
\r\n
\r\nFranklin also knows that Johnson could fall into a nice groove, and put up big numbers for the Thunder.
\r\n
\r\n\"He could really take off,\" Franklin said prior to Johnson's season best three-hit performance. \"There are always going to be some peaks and valleys and we are just trying to help him maintain what he is doing right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhen it comes down to it, Johnson's approach will be the biggest step to having a successful season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I am trying to just really have a consistent season,\" he said. \"I want to stay healthy. My biggest thing is keeping a consistent approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I finally found something that I am comfortable with that I need to be able to stick through. It doesn't matter if I have a good day or a bad day, I just need to stick through with it. That's why we play 140 games.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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