Hawk hits baseballs, too

The Packers linebacker impresses during batting practice before Wednesday's Brewers-Dodgers game at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

A.J. Hawk hits running backs hard. It turns out he can hit the heck out of a baseball, too.

The Green Bay Packers' standout second-year linebacker took batting practice at Miller Park before the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

Hawk hasn't played organized baseball in about 10 years, and it showed. He took some wild hacks during his first round of pitches. After some advice from Brewers hitting coach Jim Skaalen, Hawk hit two pitches over the fence.

"I was glad I hit a couple of out," Hawk, the Packers' leading tackler last season, told reporters. "I wasn't sure if I could do that with a wooden bat because I really have never hit with a wooden bat.

"I was swinging as hard as I could, obviously."

As is the case for anyone who has played a round of golf, swinging hard usually does more harm than good.

"These guys always come in thinking they have to really get their body ready to launch," Skaalen said. "You should let your hands do the work, especially hands like that. He was trying to put the ball in the rafters."

Brewers manager Ned Yost was impressed, nonetheless.

"You can tell, he's an athlete to be able to come out here and swing the bat like that," he said.

Hawk said he hasn't played baseball since he was a pitcher and shortstop as a 13-year-old. Hawk got advice from Skaalen about his hitting. Maybe he should have talked to Ben Sheets about his pitching mechanics. Hawk threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It bounced a couple feet in front of the plate.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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