KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- In his first at-bat of the spring, Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez took one of his customary mighty swings and wound up twisted with a knee on the ground as the ball zoomed past him. The Astros would like him to cut down on his swing somewhat, but Gomez's swing was business as usual in Grapefruit League play Saturday.
Considering Gomez spent much of the final month of last season unable to swing too hard because of a strained left oblique, he's taking advantage of feeling free and easy. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first spring start of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Mets.
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"I feel really good," he said. "I just want to swing and have that feeling, get that timing back. I don't want to take some pitches. For the first couple of games, I want to swing and be aggressive, and then I'm going to slow myself and just feel myself."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said prior to the game Gomez was trying to "tone his swing down," and he said postgame it was a work in progress.
"I think he was pretty excited that today was his first game," he said. "The second at-bat, I thought he was a little more toned down. You're only going to put so much of a governor on him. We certainly don't want to come across like he's supposed to throttle it down too far. The guy loves to play, and he plays hard."
That being said, Hinch said over-swinging could get Gomez in trouble, but any changes fans may see by Gomez as far as controlled aggression of his swing might not be visible to the layman.
"The goal is to be more consistent," Hinch said. "There's always little tweaks. It might be five percent. Sometimes it gets taken a little bit too literal. I don't think you're ever going to have him play at a pace that's even noticeably less. We'll see how it takes him throughout the spring. He's had successful seasons doing it that way. When you characterize it as a change, it often can be looked upon as bigger than it seems."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.