OAKLAND, Calif. — The conversation prior to Wednesday’s doubleheader concerned how hitter should counter the increasing tendency by opponents to overshift their defensive alignments.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who spent the previous seven years as the hitting coach in Detroit, didn’t mince words.
“This is what I told my players,” he said. “If you really think about it, when a team puts a shift on you, what the other manager is telling you is that you’re not good enough to go the other way.
“I just put it on (our players) and tell it like it is. Have a little more pride and take a better approach.”
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McClendon acknowledged there are times when a club might employ a shift in hopes of inducing a power hitter to go the other way — i.e., willing to concede a single to someone like Prince Fielder to minimize his power.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We don’t have a Prince Fielder.”
So…anyone and everyone on the Mariners needs to adjust?
“I’m saying we don’t have a Prince Fielder,” McClendon repeated. “You’ve got to be able to hit the ball all over the place. Fielder has proven year after year after year that he can beat the shift.
“Because there’s no shift over the fence. We don’t have that guy yet.”