Behind Casey McGehee's turnaround

Updated: August 10, 2011, 11:39 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The All-Star break arrived at the perfect time for Casey McGehee, who had been grinding through a first-half slump and needed to clear his head, to get away from the mechanical adjustments and adjustments on the adjustments that had made a mess of his at-bats. He wanted to spend time with his kids and not worry about baseball.

Being the good teammate that he is, McGehee turned on the Home Run Derby to check in on Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks -- and the cable in his home went out, existential confirmation that maybe the Brewers third baseman could use some separation from the game he plays and loves. "It was a sign," McGehee said with a chuckle over the phone Tuesday before the Brewers began their series against the Cardinals.

After getting the time away, McGehee has been digging himself out of that slump, and he smoked a tie-breaking hit in the 10th inning to beat the Cardinals, pushing Milwaukee's lead to four games.

McGehee hit .285 with 23 homers and 104 RBIs in 2010, with an unusual hitting style, setting up low. Early this season, feeling a little out of balance, McGehee switched his setup, going with a more upright stance -- and he spiraled downhill at the plate. In the first days of July, with his OPS at .578, McGehee had a sit-down with hitting coach Dale Sveum -- a come-to-Jesus meeting, as he described it -- to talk about where he was and what he needed to do, and Sveum and McGehee made a promise to each other that they would be demanding of each other, to work through the slump.