Tigers tweak Moya's stance, awaiting results

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Viera, Fla. — It's been a frustrating spring for outfielder Steven Moya, to say the least.

Tigers' Steven Moya is hitting .154 this spring.

After a breakout season in Double A last year and strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, Moya has scuffled mightily. He finally barreled a ball up Thursday and hit it, wouldn't you know it, right to the second baseman who turned a quick double play.

He has just four hits in 26 at-bats and he's struck out nine times.

The Tigers, though, think they spotted the culprit.

"He'd gotten into a little bad habit," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was closed off at the plate; he almost had his back facing the pitcher."

Moya, a left-handed batter, was placing his front foot much closer to the plate than his back foot. It was affecting his ability to see pitches and react to them.

"In Jupiter, Wally (Joyner, hitting coach) took him and worked with him and tried to straighten him out," Ausmus said.

The Tigers made an adjustment to Moya's hand positioning last year that paid dividends.

"His batting practices the last few days have been much better," Ausmus said. "His swing today was a good one. He got the barrel on the ball."

Even before the struggles, Moya was not likely to make the opening day roster. Both president and general manager Dave Dombrowski and Ausmus felt he would best be served by 500 at-bats at Triple A.

"Certainly with the high ceiling he has, experience will benefit him," Ausmus said.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky