Dodgers News: Zach McKinstry Needed To Correct Eye Issue When Making Contact
Zach McKinstry
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Kiké Hernandez in free agency this past offseason, the team has relied on Zach McKinstry and Chris Taylor to fill the super utility role. Both got off to an encouraging start this year, but McKinstry then suffered a right oblique strain.

McKinstry returned from the 10-day injured list roughly a month ago, and though it took some time to get going, he has been swinging a much better bat as of late. McKinstry went 4-for-11 with two home runs and five RBI in three games against the Chicago Cubs, raising his slugging percentage by nearly 50 points in the process.

McKinstry attributed his recent success to correcting an eye issue that affected his timing. “Actually, I was closing my eyes on contact, which is wild to think,” he revealed.

“When I was doing rehab stuff and when I try to feel certain things on my body, I like to close my eyes so I can feel it more. So I was closing my eyes on contact and we kind of saw that in San Diego.

“Started working on it, making sure my eyes were open, and it helped. I started seeing the ball a little bit longer out of the pitcher’s hand. It’s been good. I’ve been hitting the ball hard ever since and having good at-bats.”

McKinstry revealed his eye problem started when he was a child. “I had that same problem when I was younger; my dad and I kind of laughed about it,” McKinstry said. “I mean, you need your eyes to hit, so definitely a priority.”

McKinstry noted he corrected his eye issue by blinking more often in between pitches. “Just keeping your eyes wider and making sure I’m blinking before the guy is throwing,” he said.

“It wasn’t really that hard of a fix. I went into the cage, took maybe 20 swings and it was fixed. It’s just something you have to stay conscious about and keep working on.”

Roberts glad McKinstry found fix for eye problem

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged the uniqueness of McKinstry’s eye issue and is happy he was able to find a fix. “That was a new one for me,” Roberts said.

“I think that was one of hitting guys working with him in the cage and just realized at contact, his eyes were closed. I actually commend Zach for having the success that he’s had up to this point with having his eyes closed at contact.

“I guess some of the things you take for granted, I’m glad we detected that. He probably wouldn’t have hit the grand slam if his eyes were closed.”

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