David Wright and Daniel Murphy Work on Hitting With Howard Johnson
According to Adam Rubin of the Daily News, David Wright and Daniel Murphy have spent the last week working out down in Florida in the Port St. Lucie complex with hitting coach Howard Johnson.
Considering the World Series ended a month ago, hitters working out supervised in Florida is a significant commitment to the team and fans alike that should be appreciated.
Jeff Francoeur was supposed to join them but he has not fully recuperated from surgery on his thumb to repair torn ligaments suffered in early September.
Wright is the de-facto captain of the Mets and him taking the initiative this winter is very important to show management that he is committed to improving his personal game.
Many fans feel that Wright's decreased power numbers and high strikeouts contributed more than anything else to yet another disappointing season.
Yes, his struggles did contribute, but no more than any of the other issues that plagued the Mets in 2009, so to put it solely on his shoulders is unfair.
Injuries, pitching woes, poor baserunning, and defensive lapses were as much to blame as any one player's hitting stats.
Wright did have his own share of injuries, bad baserunning and poor defense, but so did everyone on the team, when they won, it was as a team, when they lost it was as a team.
Murphy is no longer a rookie, but he is still a young player who is impressionable, so this early supervised workout and informal hitting session no doubt gives him the reinforcement that baseball is a year round sport even though the season is only five full months.
Baseball players are trusted to maintain their offseason regimen and training, and most do it on their own where the coaches are not able to closely monitor them and can often be surprised when they report to Spring Training.
Johnson has a father-son relationship with Wright, and that has been the case since Johnson coached Wright in the Minor Leagues.
They have a great relationship built on trust and discipline. Johnson is also Wright's confidante and personal guru who is a go between Wright and management on certain issues
One of the mental approach issues that Johnson is expected to be monitoring Wright for is to make sure that he has mentally put the batter's box anxiety that was suffered in August as a result of being beaned by Matt Cain.
Wright was on the DL for two weeks and did have a lot of trouble getting comfortable at the plate for the last month of the season.
Wright would never ask for a game off no matter how bad he needs one, but he has been known to confide in Johnson about not feeling great.
Johnson will decide on a case by case basis whether to share this knowledge or keep it to himself at Wright's request.
Daniel Murphy did have his struggles in 2009, so did Wright, mainly a lack of power, but both of them are no doubt working hard to make sure that they are on the right track to rebounding in 2010.
The atmosphere down in Florida this past week was constructive and leisurely, which Johnson feels is the most effective method for Wright and Murphy to excel at perfecting their swings and approaches.
They are both hard workers and their determination for improvement during this holiday season should be commended.
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