Joe Maddon wanted to get Jorge Soler going. Instead of changing Soler’s swing or maybe sitting him down for a day, Maddon did something different Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
He hit Soler leadoff, which the young outfielder never had in his brief big-league career.
“It’s not about changing your mechanics or trying new things. It’s to think differently, and I’m all about when a hitter’s not going as he can the last thing you want to do is change physical mechanics,” Maddon said. “You want to change his mental mechanics first.”
Soler had been 4 for 30 over his last eight games before going 1 for 3 with a walk Saturday. That’s something Maddon hopes will leave Soler with a “good feeling.”
“Overall, I thought he was a lot better,” Maddon said. “He wasn’t chasing. He looked a lot more settled at the plate for me.”
Soler’s role Saturday wasn’t necessarily to bring power.
“Right now, he sees his name in the leadoff spot, he’s got a different vibe about him. Probably a little bit more care-free I would think about the day,” Maddon said. “The whole job I want to get across to him is you’re out there to score runs. Don’t worry about homers, don’t worry about hits. Just go out there and score runs.”
The move, Maddon said, wasn’t a reflection on usual leadoff man Dexter Fowler. Instead, Maddon said it was just to “unearth” Soler.
It also wasn’t about jump-starting an offense that had scored only two runs over its last 17 innings before Saturday.
“We’ve seen good pitching. We saw good pitching yesterday also. We had opportunities too. It may help, we’ll see,” Maddon said. “This is more designed for Jorge specifically, to see if we can just get him to feel a bit better about himself.”