Home News Alek Thomas homers in first game back with D-backs

Alek Thomas homers in first game back with D-backs

by admin

MILWAUKEE — Maybe Alek Thomas was too modest when asked how he felt at the plate recently while playing in Triple-A.

“We were playing in Vegas and the ball flew there, so it was great,” Thomas said Monday afternoon, after being recalled from Triple-A Reno. “I was putting together some pretty good at-bats there, too. 

“Rolling [last] week to now, it feels pretty good. So we’ll see how it translates.”

Thomas went 2-for-4 for the D-backs on Monday night in a 9-1 victory at American Family Field. His first game back in the Majors included a two-run homer off Brewers ace Corbin Burnes to cap the D-backs’ six-run first inning.

“It felt pretty good,” Thomas said afterward. “All the stuff we worked on in the Minor Leagues, just getting the head out and hitting a home run to the pull side felt really good — against a dude that’s really good. It was cool.”

When the D-backs optioned Thomas to the Minors on May 17, he had a slash line of .195/.252/.327 in 39 games. He had just one hit in 38 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers. 

The stint in Reno presented him an opportunity to work on some adjustments at the plate, in a less pressure-packed environment than the big leagues.

“The beginning was a little tough,” Thomas said of his Minors stint. “It’s always difficult to do something new, but I got adjusted to it and changed a few things. It seemed to work out pretty well.”

Thomas’ work included subtle adjustments, including what he called a “modified leg kick, where it’s not as high and it’s more controlled.” He tried using no leg kick entirely, but considering he’s had one his entire baseball life, it wasn’t comfortable.

Another adjustment is to stay more open in his stance, which allows him to see the ball better, especially against lefties. He and the D-backs’ staff compared video from this season to last and noticed his front leg was more closed this season.

“We tried to just over exaggerate that a little bit,” Thomas said.

The stance adjustment was noticeable when Thomas stepped up in the first inning Monday, with the D-backs already leading 4-0.

Thomas took a pair of pitches from Burnes to get to a 1-1 count. Burnes then came back with a good pitch — a cutter down and in — that Thomas hit to the second deck, beyond the right-field fence. Statcast measured it at a projected 412 feet with 104.6 mph exit velocity.

“[It] was down and in, almost off the plate in,” Burnes said. “He put a good swing on it.”

As he trotted around the bases, Thomas gave a thumbs up to the D-backs’ dugout, also flashing a smile.

“Awesome,” said starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, who allowed one run in seven innings. … “A.T. is a great kid. Everybody loves him, everybody loves to see him back.

“I went back and looked at the pitch. It wasn’t a terrible pitch — a hard cut down and in. He just dropped the head on it, and everybody went nuts. It’s awesome to see when a guy comes back like that and makes an instant impact.”

Thomas added a single, and even one of his outs was impressive. He hit a 356-foot flyout to the warning track in left-center in the sixth inning. Before the game, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said one of the things he wants to see is Thomas be less one-dimensional to the pull side. 

As in, if the ball is pitched outside, take it the other way, and if it’s inside, turn on it. Thomas did both on Monday.

“You can see, he just has touch powers,” Lovullo said postgame. “It was a pure swing on the home run, and he just continued to make quality adjustments pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat.

“It was a good day for him. I was very impressed by what I saw.”

After he got recalled, Thomas flew to Chicago and arrived at 4:30 a.m. Monday. He stayed at his girlfriend’s brother’s house and got to bed around 5. He woke up and got a ride to Milwaukee, arriving around 12:30 p.m. 

It was a long day, but it proved to be a memorable one.

“When everything is going right, I do what I did today,” Thomas said. “And whenever I’m not my normal self, I’m pulling off the ball and not staying through the ball — it’s definitely going right to the second baseman or the first baseman. 

“I’m glad that I did what I did. That means the swing is where needs to be.”

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment