Davidson reaching 'higher potential' with swing fix

Davidson reaching 'higher potential' with swing fix

CHICAGO -- Third baseman Matt Davidson turned the shock of a broken right foot in his lone 2016 big league game into something positive, swing-wise.

There actually isn't a true linear connection between the two. But after rebuilding his swing this past offseason and then fighting through an early-season slump at Triple-A Charlotte in 2016, Davidson eventually used some of the post-injury rehab time to make another offensive tweak.

Based on Davidson's power-packed results during the July Hitters Mini-Camp at Camelback Ranch, the change looks to be a positive one.

"Our main goal this offseason was to maximize and even hit that higher potential with that new swing," Davidson told MLB.com during this weekend's SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago. "We made a couple of adjustments, just more on the inner half of the plate, where I was cutting myself off."

Davidson describes the change as being able to get the barrel out in front of his body earlier on those inner-half pitches. Without that switch, he was pushing the ball more to left-center and center when he should have correctly pulled them to left.

"The middle and outside pitches were fine," Davidson said. "I hit a lot of balls, home runs to right field. I would pop up to deep left-center when those balls should be doubles or home runs to straight left. It's not an overhaul, but it's trying to maximize the whole plate when you can, when you get those pitches.

"We kind of sat down and watched video. I don't want to put an exact number, but I missed some pitches, like to really deep left-center fly balls, that I should have been hitting out for home runs. Just trying to get everything out of [the swing]."

It has not been an easy stretch for Davidson since joining the White Sox from the D-backs via a trade for closer Addison Reed on Dec. 16, 2013. He seemed to turn a corner with that new swing at camp in 2016, posting a .413 average with five homers and nine RBIs before returning to Charlotte.

During the ensuing April, Davidson batted .214 with 32 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. He admitted to falling into a mental funk similar to his past two seasons of struggles before bouncing back to hit .269 in May and .313 in June and earning a Major League promotion.

Davidson's RBI knock

"I had so much success in spring and then … I went a couple of games [at Charlotte] and I was like, 'Not again, not again,'" Davidson said. "But I was just like, 'Trust everything you do.' It obviously worked in spring."

That promotion ended on June 30 with the injury. But with more at-bats coming Davidson's way this season and a more complete swing to employ, the 25-year-old could serve as a solid rebuild component with the even younger top prospects.

"I'm kind of like my fourth year here, but I'll be playing at 26 [years old] all year," Davidson said. "We all want to be their age, right, and be in the big leagues and being at that point.

"Not everybody gets -- not everybody maximizes that window. I obviously didn't. I feel I'm in a really good place now. I'm excited to be a part of this."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.