Brandon Laird started the season miserably. For a while, it looked as if he'd never snap out of it but he's starting to put it together a bit since the beginning of May. After hitting just .184 in April, he is hitting .294 since May 1st with nine doubles and three home runs over that span.
"It's not like it's my first time [getting off to a slow start]," Laird said. "The past couple of seasons I've started slow and around the middle of the season I start getting into my groove. I just wanted to stick with my approach and stay positive."
Although Laird's struggles are at the plate, he says that the problem was not with his swing.
"I think it's just the mental side [of hitting]. My approach was off and I was trying to be something that I'm not. So I just tell myself to relax and have fun and good things will happen," he said.
Changing his approach at the plate has done the trick for Laird. He has been one of Scranton Wilkes-Barre's more consistent hitters at the plate over the last seven weeks. That can be attributed to the hard work Laird has put in to improve.
"I did some drills in the cage and worked with my hitting coach," said Laird. "I've been trying to do the same thing because over time it's going to change and hits will start falling in and that's what's been happening."
After such a long streak of being cold at the plate can really take a toll on a player but Laird is relieved to finally be coming through.
"It feels good," Laird said. "I try to contribute to the team as much as I can and help the team win. I try to put runs across the board because that's what I'm in the lineup to do."
The current better streak that Laird is on isn't stopping him from working hard, though. He is taking every opportunity to get better as a player.
"I want to get better every day," said Laird. "I don't want to stop working. I'm always in the cage working hard and then I go out on the field to work hard on defense. I just want to keep getting better as a player and as a major league player."
The part of Laird's game that has always been criticized is his defense, but he is not letting that stop him from trying to be a better fielder.
"I feel pretty good out there. I feel my range is there and my arm strength is good and I'm playing the position pretty well. Over the years I've gotten better and hopefully it continues.
"Me and the infield coach, Frank Menechino, have been working all the time. Sometimes we do [batting practice] and sometimes we do early work. We just continue at it and doing drills and it's all helped me tremendously. Hopefully I can just keep improving."
Laird is a very good player but like most of the infield in Scranton Wilkes-Barre, he is being held up by an All-Star infielder at the major league level.
In spring training, there was some talk about Laird playing the outfield because of Alex Rodriguez at third for the Yankees. This versatility would help Laird move up faster in the system but since the spring, Laird hasn't played much out there.
"I'm not in charge of [where I play]. I played about three innings out there this year and a little in spring training," said Laird. "Hopefully if they throw me out there I'll feel comfortable and do whatever I can to play that position. The more positions [that I can play], the better off I am for the future."
Laird is one of the Yankees better prospects so in order to get where he wants to be, he just has to stay consistent.
"I just want to keep doing the same thing. I've been successful in my career and I need to continue to do it, not change and just be myself. Hopefully everything will work out," said Laird.
Laird Slowly Turning Things Around
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