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Trying to end slump, Scott puts in extra work

Trying to end slump, Scott puts in extra work

Trying to end slump, Scott puts in extra work

ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Scott put his hand in a loose fist and peered through the hole created by his thumb and index finger like a man gazing through a telescope. That was the best way for him to answer how he feels at the plate right now: He's searching.

"Keep digging and hope eventually you find gold," Scott said.

The Rays' designated hitter entered Wednesday's series finale against the Red Sox in a 7-for-55 (.127) skid. He's gone 2-for-15 on this homestand after picking up only two hits on the club's last road trip. His average has sunk to .215, the lowest it's been all season. In Monday's 14-inning loss to Boston, he became only the second player in franchise history to go hitless in a game with at least seven at-bats.

Looking to work his way out of this extended slump, Scott put in some early work on the field Wednesday with hitting coach Derek Shelton. As Scott sees it, his biggest problem now is that his point of contact is too low, so he's getting under too many pitches rather than hitting them square and driving the ball.

The Rays' offense has been almost uncharacteristically productive this season, but that's of "very little" comfort to Scott considering his struggles at the plate. Still, he's hopeful that he can turn it around, saying he feels strong and healthy with quick hands and plenty of past experience to draw upon.

"When it comes, it's fun," Scott said.

Manager Joe Maddon was equally optimistic about Scott's performance, pointing to his 16 walks compared to 28 strikeouts -- and the 12.5 percent walk rate that matches the highest of Scott's career. There's also his 20 RBIs, a product of Scott hitting .333 with runners in scoring position.

"You look at the overarching body of work, it's still OK. It's actually pretty good," Maddon said. "Just more recently, the contact hasn't been as consistently hard, but I believe it'll come back to him.

"He's a little bit of a Mr. Goodwrench. He'll over-analyze sometimes, and that can get in the way at some point. I would just prefer that he goes out there and throws caution to the wind as opposed to his normal personality. Something like that, I think, might help. Just let it go a little bit. Let it rip."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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