KANSAS CITY -- When a player makes changes to his swing, a strong start in the batter's box can go a long way in convincing him that he made the right decision. That is how outfielder Drew Stubbs is feeling roughly a month into his first season with the Indians.
"I actually feel pretty good," Stubbs said on Saturday. "I feel like I'm really settling into the direction I wanted to head and taking the right steps forward."
Over the offseason, Stubbs worked to eliminate the leg kick he used during his time with the Reds in hopes of becoming more consistent with his timing. He continued to concentrate on the changes in Spring Training and believes he has finally reached the point where the new simplified approach feels natural.
Through his first 18 games with the Indians, Stubbs hit .250 with one home run, five RBIs and a .338 on-base percentage. Entering Saturday's game with the Royals, Stubbs was hitting .302 with a .412 on-base percentage in his past 14 games.
Last year, Stubbs hit .213 with 14 homers, 40 RBIs and a .277 OBP in 136 games for the Reds.
"It feels natural now," Stubbs said. "I think I've had enough at-bats between spring and now. When you're trying to force the issue and implement new changes, you're thinking about it every at-bat because it's foreign to you. Now, it's kind of second nature.
"I feel like I've been on time more often. Before, with the leg kick, when things were going good, it was great. But a lot of times I would get started a little late with that and have to rush. Obviously, we've got a lot of games to play, but hopefully this has allowed me to be more consistent throughout the year."
Helping Stubbs early on this season has been the fact that he has faced left-handers (29 at-bats) nearly as much as right-handers (31 at-bats). His .310 average against lefties has helped overcome his .194 showing off righties. That said, manager Terry Francona has liked what he has seen so far from the speedy outfielder.
"When he squares up balls, that's when he's got a chance to be really hot," Francona said. "We've all seen what he can do when he's on the bases. He can change the game. ... I think he's been very consistent [with his swing]. He's trying to just get himself in a position where he's ready to hit and I think he's done a good job of that."