Padres’ Schimpf hitting his groove after slow start in the big leagues

Published 7:08 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

San Diego Padres infielder Ryan Schimpf has begun turning his season around at the big league level.

Schimpf, who lived in Bogalusa for part of his childhood and played youth baseball at the airport field and Ave. B. field, was called up to the majors after a Triple-A game June 13. He played in his first career MLB game June 14.

The former LSU player, who was part of the Tigers’ 2009 College World Series championship team, got off to a tough start.

He hit just .103 in June, going 3-for-29 with eight strikeouts.

However, things have turned around in July.

Going into Friday’s game, Schimpf was hitting .320 during the month with a .370 on base percentage, and was slugging .920. He was just one just one hit shy of tripling his total from June, over four fewer at-bats.

Schimpf said he’s been working with the team’s hitting coach Alan Zinter and refining his approach.

“I’m really locking in on what I’m looking for up there and trying not to go out of my zone,” Schimpf said.

On July 1, Schimpf hit his first major league home run — a second-inning drive out to right centerfield in a 7-6 victory over New York Yankees.

“Obviously, I wasn’t trying to hit a homer,” Schimpf said. “I was trying to keep it simple and trying to put a good at bat together and square something up. I wasn’t trying to hit a homer, but it was awesome to see it get out of there.”

Just four days later on Tuesday, he went deep again — this time in Arizona when he went the opposite way to left center in the ninth inning. The solo home run was part of a two-hit day in a 7-6 loss.

Then on Wednesday, he doubled his home run total, going deep twice to right field and driving in three during a 13-6 victory over Arizona.

For the season, Schimpf is up to a .204 batting average and .323 on base percentage in 54 at-bats with four home runs, seven RBIs and nine runs. He’s also posted five doubles and has drawn eight walks.

In the field, Schimpf has played second base and third base, and has just one error in 68 chances.