Swanson in a ‘good place’ despite statistics, hitting coach says

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Dansby Swanson came back from the Braves’ eight-game season-opening trip lugging a .167 batting average in 36 at-bats and a .211 on-base percentage, with more than four times as many strikeouts (nine) as walks (two) and with his only home run coming on a homer Sunday at Pittsburgh.

But the Braves and their young shortstop weren’t concerned at all, since Swanson — he was 1-for-8 in two games at Miami after Pittsburgh — hit plenty of balls hard but right at fielders on the opening trip, and since he wasn’t letting it affect him mentally. No frustration from the rookie sensation.

“Obviously we wish our record was better, but we feel confident with where we’re at,” Swanson said, speaking for himself and the team. “It’s not like we’re just getting our doors blown off every time we go out there and we’re overmatched. We’re playing hard, playing the game the right way, just the breaks haven’t gone our way, versus how it could.”

Hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said a slow — or hot — start for a team or a player is always magnified when it comes at the beginning of the season.

“He’s in a good place,” said Seitzer, who likes Swanson’s approach at the plate. “He’s like everybody else — from a hitting coach standpoint I hate the beginning of the season because if guys get off to a slow start then they start getting pissed and fighting and fretting and trying too hard. And if guys get off to a hot start and then they start to cool off, they start to freak out because they don’t want to cool off.

“I always say until that 100 at-bat mark comes around, it’s like, let’s just settle in. Get accustomed to the pitching we’re going to see, keep making adjustments where we need to, and just keep trying to keep what I call the Nick Markakis flat line, where you’re the same guy whether you’re hitting or not hitting. Keep getting ready, go have good at-bats and whatever the results are, they are. In the end, you’ll look up and go, I had a pretty good year. That’s what we’re shooting for.”