ST. LOUIS -- When he was scuffling his way through spring training, David DeJesus promised he would be ready once the regular season began.
The free-agent acquisition has proven to be a man of his word, as a red-hot run lifted his batting average over the .300 mark just over a week into the season.
“I’m more confident, seeing better pitches and attacking pitches that are strikes,” DeJesus said. “When you get a few hits you start feeling better.”
Manager Dale Sveum has credited a late-spring adjustment where DeJesus started keeping his shoulders level through his swing instead of dipping his back shoulder near the point of contact. Instead of fly balls and popups, DeJesus started hitting more ground balls and line drives.
“I think as much as anything it’s getting some hits and being relaxed and getting confident, not getting behind in the count as often,” Sveum said. “That’s big with him to not allow himself to get behind. Confidence is everything in hitting. You put a few hits together it will just snowball.”
Also evident is the fact that DeJesus is doing his damage early in the count. He couldn’t have gotten on a pitcher any earlier than he did on Friday when he hit the first pitch of the game for a double that led to a four-run first inning.
“I just want to see pitches that are hittable,” DeJesus said. “When you have a pitch to hit go after it whatever the count is. It’s early right now so that’s what I’m going to take advantage of.”
It’s not just DeJesus, though as Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro have also gotten off to solid starts to set the table for the run producers. Castro, Alfonso Soriano, Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair have all benefited from the top of the order being on base with at least five RBIs each.
“Obviously the last couple of days, the whole lineup has done their job,” Sveum said. “But yeah, when those guys get on and are getting back-to-back hits, a lot of times it’s how you string them together and that’s what we have been able to do. We have been able to string hits together.”