Amid slump, Scott's mind ahead of body

Amid slump, Scott's mind ahead of body

Amid slump, Scott's mind ahead of body
ST. PETERSBURG -- Struggling Rays designated hitter Luke Scott could be seen taking extra batting practice at Tropicana Field four hours before Monday night's scheduled first pitch of 7:10 ET against the Yankees.

Scott entered Monday's action hitting .207 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs. He had just one hit in his last 30 at-bats dating to May 30 -- a period during which he missed 16 games due to back stiffness. Scott is 0-for-11 since returning from the disabled list on Thursday.

Anybody who has talked hitting with Scott immediately understands that he knows a lot about the subject. Rays manager Joe Maddon said that having that kind of deep understanding can sometimes be detrimental to the pursuit of hitting Major League pitching.

"He can be his own worst enemy; he can be very analytical," Maddon said of Scott. "And that's why I've been really pushing for everybody to simplify things right now and not get so complicated. That's what I've been trying to do among the coaches and the with the players. I really believe in simplification and fundamentals when things aren't going well."

Scott said that he works on his mechanics in the hope they'll become second nature once he steps into the batter's box, leaving him to worry only about what kind of pitch he is going to see.

"You're trying to train your muscle memory; you're training your mechanics," Scott said. "You're trying to make sure that ... your mechanics are right and that they're sound and they're doing what they need to do to be successful. That knowledge, I'm very comfortable with that. I've been very efficient in my career and I've learned a lot, and I have a very good understanding about it. But what's been eluding me the past six weeks -- the past two months -- has been the feel."

Scott elaborated by saying his mind knows what needs to be done to hit, but his body is not allowing that to happen.

"And that's what makes this game so frustrating," Scott said.

Scott noted that understanding how to hit and being able to hit are two entirely different matters.

"Some guys that play, you watch them, and they don't understand hitting," Scott said. "They don't know how to explain hitting. But they have a feel, and they go up there and rake.

"So if I had a choice between what was more important, having a knowledge of hitting or having the feel, I'd go with the feel any day," Scott said. "That's kind of like the expression, 'I'd rather be lucky than good.' Because, if you have a good feel for hitting, it doesn't matter if you understand it. You're getting results."

So is Scott getting back the feel? The question was put to the DH.

"Today, I feel really good," Scott said. "Today was a good day."