Slumping Hannahan eyes small tweaks
A's infielder has seen results of trying to fix too much at once
OAKLAND -- Jack Hannahan knows the numbers show that he hits better during day games than night games. He also knows that his marks are higher at home than on the road -- and he hasn't got a clue why.
So even though Thursday's series finale with the Rays was a home game played under the sun, Hannahan felt he needed to be the first one on the field with bat in hand.
That's the way it goes when riding a 3-for-38 slump. Hannahan's .224 average -- the second lowest in the American League -- isn't exactly what he would call glamorous, but the infielder has found that making small adjustments is the way to address his struggles.
"I still feel like I'm trying to do too much," Hannahan said. "I was trying to make too many big changes, and that's when the 0-for-10s come."
Indeed, he had no hits in 28 at-bats until Sunday, the longest hitless streak by an A's player since Mark Kotsay struggled through an 0-for-29 skid in 2006.
"I was trying to pull the ball too much," he said, "Now, I'm trying to make smaller adjustments, like seeing the strike zone better."
In the meantime, manager Bob Geren has called upon Cliff Pennington to handle the hot corner when Hannahan's at first base or out of the lineup. More time on the bench, though, won't change Hannahan's mind-set at the plate.
"I've been putting pressure on myself," he said. "But I've hit my whole career, so I know I can do it."
Acquired from Detroit last August to fill in for injured third baseman Eric Chavez, Hannahan has started 120 of the A's past 162 games at third base, giving him plenty of time to adjust to a starting role.
Yet Hannahan admitted that the adjustment process doesn't always stay at the ballpark.
"If I'm not doing so well, I try not to think about it after I leave, but it's tough in this game," he said. "They say baseball is 90 percent mental, so it's hard to leave all that at the ballpark sometimes."
No matter what the baseball experts say, though, Hannahan is sure of one thing.
"It's frustrating, but I know I'm capable of hitting," he said. "I just have to get back to being myself."
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.