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04/09/08 11:19 PM ET
Ortmeier abandons switch-hitting
First baseman relieved to hone stroke from natural right side
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' relatively large contingent of switch-hitters -- Ray Durham, Eugenio Velez, Omar Vizquel, Randy Winn -- just shrank by one. Daniel Ortmeier, who's had a lot on his mind while trying to learn to play first base after spending his career in the outfield, got some mental relief earlier this week when he, manager Bruce Bochy and hitting coach Carney Lansford agreed that he should hit exclusively right-handed. Ortmeier, a natural right-handed batter who began switch-hitting in college, actually hit .310 left-handed last season as a Giant, compared to .257 right-handed. But he homered four times in 70 at-bats right-handed, contrasting with two homers in 87 at-bats as a lefty, reflecting his innate tendencies. Ortmeier's still readjusting in batting practice to facing right-handed pitching as a right-hander. Handling breaking pitches poses a particular challenge. Asked how he'll bat the next time he faces a right-handed pitcher, Ortmeier even said, "I don't know." But he sounded sincere about sticking with his right-handed stroke once he completes the transition. "I feel so comfortable right-handed," said Ortmeier, who entered Wednesday hitting .143 (1-for-7). "It wouldn't be something I'd be nervous about."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.