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Asdrubal struggling with first-pitch approach

Asdrubal struggling with first-pitch approach

DETROIT -- For as long as Asdrubal Cabrera can remember, he has had a propensity for swinging at the first pitch. The Indians shortstop has found success with that approach throughout his career, but this season has started with some struggles.

Considering that pitchers are instructed on the importance of throwing first-pitch strikes, Cabrera said he sees the initial offering as a good pitch to attack at certain times.

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"I'm just looking for my pitch," Cabrera said. "You get fastballs on the first pitch a lot of times, so I swing at it. I know that the pitcher, all the time they try to get ahead in the count."

Entering Wednesday's game, Cabrera was batting .316 with a .769 OPS on the first pitch over the course of his career. That is a better showing than his overall numbers -- .271 average with a .746 OPS. This season, though, Cabrera was batting .188 overall through 13 games, with a .111 average through nine at-bats ending on the first pitch.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the last thing the team would do is ask Cabrera to alter an approach that has worked for him over the years.

"That's the way he hits, especially when there's runners in scoring position," Francona said. "That's kind of been his M.O. Guys hit the way they hit. They work every day on mechanics and things like that, but if you try to alter a way a guy hits, the craft is so hard to begin with, you're going to have a chance to mess guys up."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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