Batting coach Kevin Long during the New York Yankees spring training workout at Steinbrenner Field. Tampa, FL
By Brendan Kuty
NEW YORK — Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long says he’s been losing Z’s over the club’s punchless offense, but that he knows he’s doing the best he can.
“I can give them routines,” Long said, according to the New York Time’s Tyler Kepner. “I can help them with some flaws. We can work and work and work. And, yeah, when you don’t see results, it wears on you. There’s some sleepless nights. There’s some nights when you feel like you’re not doing everything you can. And at the end of the day, I know that I am.”
Long’s comments came before the Yankees’ offense actually showed a bit of life in a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees got a two-run homer from Brian McCann in the second inning, which plated Mark Teixeira and gave them a 2-0 lead. The team also tacked on a run in the fifth and a pair in the seventh against the Red Sox, who couldn’t figure out Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.
But that outburst, if you’ll call it that, is far from the norm for the Yankees this season.
The team is 18th in batting average at .250. It’s produced just 544 runs — good enough for 21st in the league. And they’ve been terrible when it really counts, posting a .255 batting average with runners in scoring position, placing them 27th in the league.
Still, according to Long, there are many ways to motivate hitters, but finding the right move isn’t simple.
“I try to come up with more ideas, try to be more proactive,” Long said, according to Kepner. “And sometimes it’s a matter of backing off the throttle. Do I not give them as much information? There’s all different things that spin through your head. Are you more forceful as a coach? Do you scream? Do you yell? Do you tell them, ‘Enough’s enough?'”
With the Yankees’ playoff hopes slipping, Long is running out of time to decide.