Theo: Cubs fans haven't seen real Heyward

Right fielder honing offensive approach with mental skills coach in Arizona

Theo: Cubs fans haven't seen real Heyward

CHICAGO -- He won his fourth Gold Glove Award and his inspirational message to his Cubs teammates during the rain delay in Game 7 appeared to spark a rally and an eventual World Series championship. But Jason Heyward wasn't pleased with his .230 batting average in his first season with the Cubs, and the right fielder is now working in Arizona on some changes.

One of the Cubs' mental skills coaches, Darnell McDonald, posted a video on his Instagram account late Monday of Heyward hitting in a batting cage at the team's Spring Training complex in Mesa, Ariz.

At the Winter Meetings, both Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer talked about how Heyward was receptive to extra work this offseason. Heyward bought a house in Arizona so he could easily commute to the complex.

Heyward's four-hit game

"You're not re-inventing him but getting him back to some of the places where he had the most success," Hoyer said during the Winter Meetings about Heyward, who batted .293 in 2015 with the Cardinals. "That's what [Cubs fans] know of him, the one year [in 2016], but if you look back at his career, he's had some really good offensive seasons.

"We want to tweak his mechanics to the times when he had success -- 27 homers in 2012 -- and get him back to those places," Hoyer said. "We're not asking him to do new things but go back to doing things he did well. He's totally bought in and excited to get started."

Epstein said it's difficult for players to make in-season adjustments.

"The offseason is a great opportunity to take a deep breath, slow things down, look at video, work with your coaches, really think about the swing," Epstein said. "Think about the bat path and make some adjustments and develop some muscle memory, work on your feel and then take it into games."

Statcast: Heyward's leaping grab

Epstein said Heyward, 27, made an impact with his defensive skills and baserunning. There's more to come.

"Cubs fans haven't seen the type of hitter that Jason Heyward is -- and can be -- yet," Epstein said. "But I think they will."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.