For the past six weeks of the season, he's been at his best. A very strong .286 batting average in June has continued into July. Batting .276 this month, the early-season struggles that plagued Vechionacci are becoming a thing of the past. The recent run of productivity is gratifying for the Venezuelan native.
"Right now there's been a lot of work with my hitting, with help from our hitting coach James (Rowson)," he said. "I came in early to the stadium everyday to try to get some more hitting in, lefty and righty. I just wanted to practice hard everyday, everyday, everyday."
May was especially hard for Marcos Vechionacci. Injuries led to a .170 average and zero extra-base hits. The physical problems were hard for him to manage.
"It was difficult to be away," he said of missing nearly a month. "There's no looking at pitches and my timing on hitting was very, very bad."
But Vechionacci maintained a strong work ethic, determined to make up for the lack of production. And the hard work is paying off so far.
"But I just took it day-to-day and just practiced. Right now it's been going pretty good," he said.
Tampa coach James Rowson is pleased with the effort put fourth by his third baseman, not just this season, but throughout his professional career.
"I think all the hard work he's done over the past few years is finally starting to get comfortable to him," said Rowson. "Sometimes he wasn't always getting the results he was searching for, but he was always worked towards getting it and now everything is starting to line up with him and he's getting comfortable."
Among some of the things that Vechionacci has improved on has been his swing. The coaching staff helped him fix up some issues that prevented him from performing like the kind of productive hitter he has been.
"He's kind of made his timing a lot better, he's slowed things down a little bit, worked on getting a little bit better loading action so that he can have consistent timing," Rowson said.
But one area that remains a work in progress for Vechionacci is his power production. So far this season, he has yet to connect on a home run. This comes off a year in which he hit eight total between stints with Tampa and the Charleston Riverdogs. But he believes all his power will come in time.
"One day it's good, and I go 4 for 4, other days it's 0 for 4. I practice everyday, the same thing," he said. "The tip from our coach is to just play hard everyday."
For Rowson, power production comes with patience and after improvements in different areas are made first.
"There have been a lot of hitters who are power hitters in the Major Leagues that when you look back when they were younger, they didn't have as many home runs," he said. "Right now he's on his way to being a pretty good hitter. As he gets older, he's going to develop power."
"When you watch him take batting practice, you can see still see the power is there."
One area of Vechionacci's game that hasn't changed has been his defense. He has remained one of the premiere defensive players throughout the Yankees' farm system.
Even when he was having a tough time at the plate, Vechionacci never brought his cold streak with him when he took the field.
"When it comes to hitting, I concentrate on the hitting," he said. "When it comes to defense, I concentrate on the defense. I don't remember any strikeouts when I go to play defense. It's a different game."
"He works just as hard defensively as he does offensively," Rowson said. "His hands are unbelievable. He's got great hands so if you hit it down there, he's going to catch it."
For now, better pitch selection is the next step for Vechionacci. Rowson would like to see him obtain a better grasp at which pitches to swing away on. Getting this will only further advance his already promising future.
"I think he's getting better at that," Rowson said. "I'd like to see him continue on the path and as he continues to get pitches to hit, his strikeouts will come down. As he continues to hit strikes hard, and have the ability to be locked in with his approach, all that's going to fall into place for him."
Nacci Bouncing Back From Early-Season Woes
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