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08/23/09 2:43 PM ET
Struggling Velez admits he's pressing
Previously hot Giants hitter says he just needs to relax
By Cheng Sio / MLB.com
DENVER -- Eugenio Velez's dream was to play for the Giants. But sometimes, a beautiful dream can have its drawbacks. Velez returned from the Minors on July 27 an improved hitter, and he displayed what he learned with a 14-game hitting streak that included three home runs and 11 RBIs with a .417 average. But when the hitting streak was snapped on Aug. 11, it started a rough patch for Velez. In his last 11 games, he's batted .156 (7-for-45). His problem, he said, is he's pressing. "The thing is, when we're young like me and a couple of guys, we try to do too much sometimes," Velez said. "Right now, I just have to try to calm down and play hard." Manager Bruce Bochy said it's not uncommon for a young player, such as Velez, to be pressing when they are on a skid. He said those players usually suffer a little anxiety and may not see the ball as well. Meanwhile, Velez said he's had a habit of trying to do too much in the Majors, which gets him in trouble. But when he's playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, he's more relaxed. He's trying to find that same relaxation point to get himself back on track. "We try to make every play, try to get a hit in every at-bat," Velez said. "That's not the point. The point is just put the ball in play. That's it." Hitting struggles aside, though, both Bochy and Velez believe Velez will find his stride again. "He did a great job carrying us," Bochy said. "He'll get it going again."
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.