Maybe Logan should have also said he doesn't want to disappoint manager
Manny Acta, because it was the skipper who announced back in January that
Logan would be his everyday center fielder entering Spring Training. Logan's
spectacular defense is the primary reason.
"For a change, it's good to be in a situation where you feel you got off to
a good start with the guy in charge," Logan said. "When he was with the
Mets, [Acta] saw me make a couple of plays last year. He didn't get to see
every game. ... Now he wants to see it first hand.
"I pride myself in my defense. I try to be the pitcher's best friend. They
are on the mound working hard. I see Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones take
pride in what they do defensively. And I'm like, 'I'm out here anyway, you
might as well play defense the best way you can.' Everywhere I've gone, I've
earned the respect of my pitchers."
But spectacular defense can only go so far for Logan.
Although Logan hit .300 (27-for-90) after being acquired in a trade with
the Tigers last September, there are those who feel he still needs to learn
about the art of hitting.
Page's job is to make sure that the switch-hitting Logan can hit from
the left side with consistency, and that's something he hasn't been able to
do during his brief career in the Major Leagues. Logan is a lifetime .249
hitter (98-for-393) from the left side, and his batting average is 73 points
higher from the right side.
To many, Logan is not fundamentally sound batting lefty. He is a good
bunter, but has problems hitting offspeed pitches. Logan is a natural
right-handed hitter and didn't start switch-hitting until he was 21 years
old, his first season in the Tigers organization.
"He has to get in position more on the left side and be a little more
disciplined," Page said. "He has to be able to hit with two strikes."
Logan enters the cage with the bat in hand. He practices only from the left
side. Page tosses a few balls to him. At first, Logan is not swinging
properly and hits several weak pop ups and grounders. Page tells him that he is
not using the lower half of his body enough, especially his left leg. Logan
then starts bending the left leg and line drives begin flying off the
"That's a double," Page said.
"That's another hit." Page added.
"Whatever Mitch is bringing, I'm trying to do," Logan said. "Anything helps. He has been
around the game a long time."
Acta has set high goals for his center fielder. Logan will bat near the
bottom of the order to begin the season, but after the All-Star break, Acta would like to
put Logan in the second hole, so the team can take advantage of his speed.
"You have to shoot high," Acta said. "We are not talking about a 19-year-old guy here.
This could also be a make-or-break year."
Logan has his own goals. He not only wants to hit .300, but he wants to improve his on-base percentage. He currently has a .319 career OBP.
"I want to get on base as much as possible," Logan said. "You can look at
some players' averages. It can look deceiving. They have the same on-base
percentage and batting average. I want my on-base percentage [to be higher]."