"I've had both extremes of it," Carpenter said. "I've had it where I've led the leagues in walks , and I've had where I've led the league in hits . I'm trying to search for that perfect balance where you're aggressive, but you're still patient.
"In the postseason, I felt that I was more aggressive than I had been at any point in my career, but at the same time, I wasn't flailing at balls. I didn't lose anything. Now, it's finding the perfect balance to where I'm swinging the bat, I'm being aggressive, I'm trying to do damage, but at the same time, I'm a guy who can walk a lot, get on base and set the tone as a leadoff hitter. I think that's part of growing up as a baseball player. You learn and you adapt and you continue to try to figure out who you are as a hitter."
Carpenter homered four times during last year's postseason after hitting just eight home runs during the regular season, with his first two postseason blasts coming on the first pitch of his at-bats. He's looking to capture that approach more often this season.
"I think he's a smart enough guy to do it because he knows what he does really well," hitting coach John Mabry said. "That's what you take pride in -- those guys who put in all the work to get to where they are and then say, 'I'm not happy.' They want to put in the extra work to get to that next step, the next level."
Carpenter is looking to build off a 2014 season in which he hit .272/.375/.375 with eight home runs and 59 RBI in 595 at-bats.Analysis:
"I think it would have happened anywhere, whether I was at high-A ball or Double-A," he said to MLB.com. "For some reason, I just started overthinking everything. I started looking for changeups when I shouldn't have. I should have just stayed with my normal routine."
It was the first significant time in his career that Dozier experienced struggles at the plate.
"It's good that I went through it," Dozier said. "Now I know how to snap out of one of those slumps. I know that I shouldn't change anything like my approach -- just stay with it, stay with the routine."Analysis:
“I just keep hearing how far balls are going,” Molitor said after Monday’s workout. “It’s fun for people to see. I hope he’s working on his whole game.
“He’s a young kid. But he’s doing fine. It’s good to see him healthy. He hasn’t had any issues with that (surgically repaired) elbow, and that’s what we’re trying to make sure we protect against as spring unfolds.”
While Molitor is pleased with how Sano is doing offensively, he really wants to see how Sano is progressing in the field.
“I was working today on the bunt defenses; he’s trying,” Molitor said. “There are things that are going to be a challenge for him. We’ve got to keep an eye on him. He’s a big boy. He carries it pretty well, but you’ve got to have some athleticism. He’s got to keep that … if he wants to play a corner-infield position in the big leagues, especially third base.”Analysis:
Rodriguez, however, will play in Wednesday's spring game against the Phillies, manager Joe Girardi announced Monday.
Rodriguez was the DH and hit fourth in Monday's intrasquad game. Hitting off a pitching machine, he grounded to third on the second pitch of the first at-bat and flied out to short right on the first pitch of the second at-bat, per the Associated Press.Analysis:
Plouffe said he made it through Monday's workout without any issue and believes he will be back to full speed Tuesday.Analysis:
"He's solid, he's motivated," Maddon said. "He's got a really nice way about him. He's really good, he knows he's really good, but he carries that very well. I like that. False humility doesn't do anything. It's kind of a worthless quality. I think his humility is sincere, but he also knows that he's good."
Despite Maddon's endorsement of Bryant, Maddon would not commit to Bryant making the Opening Day roster.
"Somewhere," Maddon said. "There's all kinds of Opening Days."Analysis:
The deal includes an invite to spring training. In 2014, Viciedo hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI.Analysis:
"You like to see these guys play," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He can look to our starting lineup at the top or hitting first or second and he’ll see a guy who is pretty successful who is not the biggest guy in the world. I see a unique size for this level, but the way he’s hit and the way he’s performed he’s earned every chance to get a look."
Torreyes was added to the team's 40-man roster in November after hitting .298/.345/.376 with two home runs, 46 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 460 at-bats with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014.
"He doesn’t look like a ballplayer because he’s little like me, but he’s a young bull," Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said. "He hits a lot and plays good defense. Last year they put him on the 40-man roster because he has a good chance to help us. There aren’t many players like him so skinny and little in the big leagues, so when you see him for the first time you say, 'You know he has to be good to be here.' Then when you see him hit you realize the organization has a good reason to give him this opportunity."
Torreyes will look for an opportunity to latch on as a utility player this spring. He's capable of seeing work at second base, shortstop and third base as well as in left field and center field.Analysis:
"I'm trying to help him, he's trying to help me," Middlebrooks said. "We're working together, we're having fun and we're competing. It's for the team, and I think it'll be good if we both push each other."
Middlebrooks hit .191 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 215 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2014.
He is also okay if he ends up playing a different position down the line.
"Third base is the priority," he said, "but wherever I can get in the lineup, wherever I can help us win some baseball games, that's what's important for me."
Meanwhile, Solarte is doing what he can to help Middlebrooks adjust to his new surroundings.
"That's competing," Solarte said. "For me, it's my teammate. I want to work hard with him and make it fun, too."Analysis: