Rowson introduces new drill for Cubs hitters

Rowson introduces new drill for Cubs hitters

Rowson introduces new drill for Cubs hitters
CHICAGO -- David DeJesus, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo were among the players working on their swings in an early session Saturday with new hitting coach James Rowson at Wrigley Field.

The batters were at the plate with a large screen directly in front of them. Rowson would flip the ball to the batters from a short distance.

"It's something the guys wanted to work on a little today," said Rowson, who took over Tuesday for hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who was dismissed. "It's really soft toss, and the net is there to make sure they keep their swing compact."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum watched the session.

"It's a drill to keep the bat in the strike zone longer and keep connected with your lower half when you swing the bat and not shutting down your backside," Sveum said. "It keeps you fluid through the baseball, knowing your bat can't get too far out of the strike zone, and it has to stay through the strike zone, not around the strike zone."

Rowson has been studying video of the hitters since taking over the big league duties. He is familiar with some of the batters because of his role as the Cubs' Minor League hitting coordinator, and said he makes sure to individualize his instruction.

"I say that because every player has his own thing," Rowson said. "I'm here to try to find out how each one of these guys reacts and what helps them."