Suwinski working to move on from prolonged woes: ‘I know I have it in me’

Cincinnati — Following early-season troubles that necessitated a vacation to the minors, Jack Suwinski wasn’t attempting to make any significant mechanical modifications during his seven games at Class AAA Indianapolis from May 27 to June 2. Rather, timing, seeing the ball, staying on the fastball, aggression, and controlled movement were emphasized.

with 28 at-bats, Suwinski managed just seven hits with two extra-base hits and thirteen strikeouts during his time with Indianapolis. Due to major-league needs, the stay was brief and the outcomes weren’t perfect. On June 4, the Pirates called him up to assist out in center field, and he hasn’t been out since.

But since returning to the big leagues, the results still haven’t been very productive. The struggles he experienced prior to his demotion have persisted in the form of a .167 average, a .544 OPS and 22 strikeouts in 48 at-bats through 16 games this month.

“It’s definitely tough because obviously you want to play the best you can for the group and help the team win,” said Suwinski, who was slashing .174/.268/.297 with just four homers in 49 games prior to being demoted. “We want to win games, go to the playoffs and win games there. Obviously, at a team level, you’d love to be more productive. No one wants to go through long periods of struggle, but it’s part of the game. It’s a tough game, probably harder than ever with the way pitchers are throwing and how competitive it is to score runs on a daily basis. Just trying to do everything I can and everything we can to help the team win and do what we can do.”

As Suwinski alluded to, timing has evidently been his biggest issue. He’s striking out at a 29.5% rate and holds a .172/.258/.351 slash line with six homers and 19 RBIs in 65 games. Simply put, he hasn’t looked like the player who led the Pirates with 26 home runs last season.

“Last night, he had one hit and the night before he had two really good swings and didn’t get anything to show for it,” Derek Shelton said. “With Jack, it’s just making sure that he’s on time. I think when we’ve seen he’s on time and not in between, he has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Day by day, Suwinski is working on getting his timing right in order to be a more consistent contributor in the Pirates’ lineup rather than a bottom-of-the-order bat considered as unreliable. While he hasn’t shown it on a consistent basis, he knows he’s capable of more.

“I know I have it in me, I know I’m a good player and I know I can help this team win,” Suwinski said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”

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