Cave Pushing Through

CHARLESTON, SC - Outfielder Jake Cave is in the midst of his first full season after missing the past two seasons with a knee injury. He got off to a hot start with the Charleston RiverDogs but has been facing some difficulties at the plate recently.

Although Cave is experiencing some struggles numbers-wise, he is not losing any playing time. First-year RiverDogs manager Al Pedrique thinks Cave might be overcompensating for his recent performances by trying too hard, and just needs to take a step back, trust himself, and relax.

"He's just running into a tough time right now and it's normal for players at a young age," Pedrique said. "The key for him to understand this, it's all part of the game, is not to try too hard or try to do too much, and I think that's what he's doing right now.

"As the type of player he is, he's trying to do more than he's capable of physically when he already can do it. Again, it's normal for kids who are struggling a little bit who have, say, three or four big games, to assume that they're going to get sent down or be in the line up if they don't match those performances. So, he needs to understand that it's all part of the game, relax, and take one at-bat at a time."

Cave's hitting coach, P.J. Pilittere, has similar thoughts to manager Pedrique in that his young age might be spooking him when it doesn't have to.

"Most young hitters the first time they hit a rough patch they're going to press a little bit, it's only human nature for those guys," Pilittere said. "It might be a little bit of back luck too, I try to tell him that he'll come through at the other end and he'll be fine.

"It won't be the toughest struggle he goes through in his career, and later on down the line he can look back at this and laugh. Or he can look back when he's in another tough spot and know that he overcame this one and can do it again, and he'll get through it."

Cave's very optimistic that this type of struggle is just a funk for him and all part of the game, experience, and everything that comes along with fighting for it.

"I think its just baseball, it's a game of failure," Cave said. "You're going to get out seven times out of ten, and when came in and I was doing really well.

"This is my first time in an actual season since my injury so it was bound to happen, but I feel good at the plate so I think I'm bound to get out of it here anytime."

He entered Monday's contest hitless in is last 31 at-bats Cave, spanning seven games, though he did really well right out of the gate initially. Now he is going to push through and take everything as it comes the way he always has at the plate.

"I think he's been pretty patient," Pilittere said. "Most of the time you see guys struggle and they go up there and swing at the first pitch regardless, and he hasn't been doing that at all. He's still been trying to get good pitches to hit and he's hit some balls hard.

"He's just getting a little frustrated and he'll come through it. We have all the confidence in the world as the coaching staff and I know his teammates do as well, and he's still doing a really good job helping us win, playing defense really hard, bunting, bringing guys over, and doing things to help the team win.

"He's working very hard," Pedrique added. "We keep telling him it's not all about getting hits every night, he can help the team by moving the guys running, bunting for base hits, sacrifice bunts, stealing the base, and of course trying to walk and get on base. I think once he understands all he can do and believes it, he has a chance to be a really good player."

Although Cave hasn't made any major adjustments at the plate, his opposing pitchers are a different story.

"I've been getting pitched at a little harder I think because I was having some success," Cave opined. "I'm seeing the ball well and putting some good swings on the bat. I think it's just that I had a couple bad games and got really anxious, but I'm going into the cage a lot and I think it will all be okay."

Cave and his staff believe that in order for him to succeed he shouldn't change what was already working for him initially.

"I think one of the problems is I actually got away from the approach that was working really well for me," Cave said. "I think it's a lack of concentration going up there but I haven't changed my approach, I just haven't been sticking with what worked the best for me, and that's what I need to get back to."

Pilittere doesn't believe the left-handed hitter has gotten into any bad habits, just a change in routine that was already dynamite and made him a recognizable hitter.

"I think mechanically he's solid and just as sound as he was the day he got here, and as I've known him as a hitter he's been the same," Pilittere said.

"I just think confidence is a funny thing in this game, as soon as you doubt yourself a little bit it can start a snowball pretty quick and before you know it, it gets a little hard to figure it out."

So what's next for the Hampton, Virginia native?

"All I can really do is be patient and I have to know that it's going to come one hit at a time, Cave said. "I know I'm not going to be able to get all those hits back that I didn't get, so I'm just going to keep swinging because it's bound to come [chuckles].

"This is my first time playing nine innings everyday. I've had a couple off days but other than that it's either on the road or playing at the field all day.

"You have to practice and then play all night, so the amount of playing I've been doing is different, especially from not playing last year, that's probably my hardest adjustment right now plus a little fatigue. I'm getting used to it."

Pilittere and Pedrique want Cave to relax and enjoy himself while always keeping in mind that his talent and practice will get him where he needs to be.

"I want him to work on consistency. If he makes an out it's not the end of the world, he's got four more turns coming that night or the next day. He shouldn't let his performance affect his personality, and he's working really hard to try and improve himself in that department," Pilittere noted.

Pedrique believes that Cave will improve if he stops being his own enemy.

"He tries so hard and wants to do so good, and he obviously has tools and can play this game. The one thing I would like to see from him is to see him have fun and go out there and enjoy the game [more].

"We know he has tools and a positive future and that his game is going to get better offensively and defensively. For now, he shouldn't be too hard on himself," Pedrique concluded.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nAlthough Cave is experiencing some struggles numbers-wise, he is not losing any playing time. First-year RiverDogs manager Al Pedrique thinks Cave might be overcompensating for his recent performances by trying too hard, and just needs to take a step back, trust himself, and relax.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's just running into a tough time right now and it's normal for players at a young age,\" Pedrique said. \"The key for him to understand this, it's all part of the game, is not to try too hard or try to do too much, and I think that's what he's doing right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"As the type of player he is, he's trying to do more than he's capable of physically when he already can do it. Again, it's normal for kids who are struggling a little bit who have, say, three or four big games, to assume that they're going to get sent down or be in the line up if they don't match those performances. So, he needs to understand that it's all part of the game, relax, and take one at-bat at a time.\"
\r\n
\r\nCave's hitting coach, P.J. Pilittere, has similar thoughts to manager Pedrique in that his young age might be spooking him when it doesn't have to.
\r\n
\r\n\"Most young hitters the first time they hit a rough patch they're going to press a little bit, it's only human nature for those guys,\" Pilittere said. \"It might be a little bit of back luck too, I try to tell him that he'll come through at the other end and he'll be fine.
\r\n
\r\n\"It won't be the toughest struggle he goes through in his career, and later on down the line he can look back at this and laugh. Or he can look back when he's in another tough spot and know that he overcame this one and can do it again, and he'll get through it.\"
\r\n
\r\nCave's very optimistic that this type of struggle is just a funk for him and all part of the game, experience, and everything that comes along with fighting for it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think its just baseball, it's a game of failure,\" Cave said. \"You're going to get out seven times out of ten, and when came in and I was doing really well.
\r\n
\r\n\"This is my first time in an actual season since my injury so it was bound to happen, but I feel good at the plate so I think I'm bound to get out of it here anytime.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe entered Monday's contest hitless in is last 31 at-bats Cave, spanning seven games, though he did really well right out of the gate initially. Now he is going to push through and take everything as it comes the way he always has at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he's been pretty patient,\" Pilittere said. \"Most of the time you see guys struggle and they go up there and swing at the first pitch regardless, and he hasn't been doing that at all. He's still been trying to get good pitches to hit and he's hit some balls hard.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's just getting a little frustrated and he'll come through it. We have all the confidence in the world as the coaching staff and I know his teammates do as well, and he's still doing a really good job helping us win, playing defense really hard, bunting, bringing guys over, and doing things to help the team win.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's working very hard,\" Pedrique added. \"We keep telling him it's not all about getting hits every night, he can help the team by moving the guys running, bunting for base hits, sacrifice bunts, stealing the base, and of course trying to walk and get on base. I think once he understands all he can do and believes it, he has a chance to be a really good player.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Cave hasn't made any major adjustments at the plate, his opposing pitchers are a different story.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been getting pitched at a little harder I think because I was having some success,\" Cave opined. \"I'm seeing the ball well and putting some good swings on the bat. I think it's just that I had a couple bad games and got really anxious, but I'm going into the cage a lot and I think it will all be okay.\"
\r\n
\r\nCave and his staff believe that in order for him to succeed he shouldn't change what was already working for him initially.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think one of the problems is I actually got away from the approach that was working really well for me,\" Cave said. \"I think it's a lack of concentration going up there but I haven't changed my approach, I just haven't been sticking with what worked the best for me, and that's what I need to get back to.\"
\r\n
\r\nPilittere doesn't believe the left-handed hitter has gotten into any bad habits, just a change in routine that was already dynamite and made him a recognizable hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think mechanically he's solid and just as sound as he was the day he got here, and as I've known him as a hitter he's been the same,\" Pilittere said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just think confidence is a funny thing in this game, as soon as you doubt yourself a little bit it can start a snowball pretty quick and before you know it, it gets a little hard to figure it out.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo what's next for the Hampton, Virginia native?
\r\n
\r\n\"All I can really do is be patient and I have to know that it's going to come one hit at a time, Cave said. \"I know I'm not going to be able to get all those hits back that I didn't get, so I'm just going to keep swinging because it's bound to come [chuckles].
\r\n
\r\n\"This is my first time playing nine innings everyday. I've had a couple off days but other than that it's either on the road or playing at the field all day.
\r\n
\r\n\"You have to practice and then play all night, so the amount of playing I've been doing is different, especially from not playing last year, that's probably my hardest adjustment right now plus a little fatigue. I'm getting used to it.\"
\r\n
\r\nPilittere and Pedrique want Cave to relax and enjoy himself while always keeping in mind that his talent and practice will get him where he needs to be.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want him to work on consistency. If he makes an out it's not the end of the world, he's got four more turns coming that night or the next day. He shouldn't let his performance affect his personality, and he's working really hard to try and improve himself in that department,\" Pilittere noted.
\r\n
\r\nPedrique believes that Cave will improve if he stops being his own enemy.
\r\n
\r\n\"He tries so hard and wants to do so good, and he obviously has tools and can play this game. The one thing I would like to see from him is to see him have fun and go out there and enjoy the game [more].
\r\n
\r\n\"We know he has tools and a positive future and that his game is going to get better offensively and defensively. For now, he shouldn't be too hard on himself,\" Pedrique concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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