Escobar working overtime to bust out of slump

Escobar working overtime to bust out of slump

NEW YORK -- Brewers shortstop Alcides Escobar is not getting down about a rookie season at the plate that his manager has described often as "disappointing."

Manager Ken Macha wants Escobar to spend the winter refining his swing, and hitting coach Dale Sveum recently spent a few days working overtime with Escobar on some fixes. Escobar entered the Brewers' doubleheader on Wednesday with a .234 batting average and a .284 on-base percentage.

"I know I'm struggling, man," Escobar said. "The last two weeks, I'm struggling. Twenty days ago I was batting .250. Now I'm batting .230.

"But I'm staying positive. That's what I want to do. I want to get out of the slump by hitting. Everybody knows I can hit. I don't know why this is happening, but I can hit."

He's shown that in the Minor Leagues, where Escobar was a .293 hitter with a .333 on-base percentage in 647 games after the Brewers signed him out of Venezuela in July 2003. In a late-season call-up to the Brewers in '09, Escobar batted .304 with a .333 on-base mark in 125 at-bats.

He was one plate appearance shy of losing his rookie eligibility, and entered 2010 as a contender for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Instead, Escobar was far overshadowed by other upstarts, including Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.

With Sveum's tips in tow, Escobar will report for duty in the Venezuelan Winter League around Nov. 20.

"I always want to come to Spring Training ready," Escobar said. "Everybody in baseball has a slump. I'm not frustrated for the season. I'm hitting .230 or something, but I'm trying, and I'm playing good [in the field].

"I'll try to finish strong and then next year is a new season, a new everything."