McGehee aims to put struggles behind him
CHICAGO Casey McGehee admits it.
The Milwaukee Brewers third baseman has been frustrated with his performance this season, and at times he has pressed too hard to rectify the situation.
But now he knows his final hitting numbers will be subpar and is focusing on what he can do to help the Brewers clinch the National League Central Division title and succeed in the playoffs.
McGehee homered in his final at-bat Monday, driving a Carlos Marmol slider into the Wrigley Field bleachers.
It was just his fourth hit in his last 41 at-bats and snapped a 0-for-19 slump.
“I’m trying to get hot here at the right time,” McGehee said. “Better late than never.”
The season-long struggles have been tough for McGehee to accept after he had a stellar 2010 season, hitting .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBIs and being named the team’s most valuable player.
After a 0-for-4 night Tuesday, McGehee was hitting .227 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs.
“Let’s be honest,” McGehee said. “It’s no secret it’s been a struggle for me at times this year. No doubt about it, it hasn’t gone the way I envisioned or hoped or expected to go.
“There’s only two things you can do about it. You can either pout about it and quit, or you can keep going out there hacking and swinging and try to get going.”
McGehee headed underneath the right-field bleachers at Wrigley before Tuesday’s game to take some additional batting practice under the supervision of hitting coach Dale Sveum. And McGehee took his normal turn in the cage before the game.
“I actually believe my swings have progressively gotten better the last couple weeks,” McGehee said. “Mechanically I actually feel as good as I have since spring training.
“Now it’s just a matter of making sure I get good pitches to hit and being a little more selectively aggressive.”
McGehee was upset with himself after he struck out with two runners on and two outs in the sixth inning of Monday’s game. He said he thought he should have swung at the first pitch.
“A lot of times the tough thing is the mental aspect of it, and some of your thoughts when you’re in the box are a lot harder to clear out than you would think,” McGehee said.
“As stupid as it sounds, just go out there with a smile on my face and realize I’m playing a game and have fun.”
McGehee said the Brewers’ success has eased his personal struggle but also contributed to it.
“It’s definitely nice we’ve been winning games,” he said. “On the flip side of it, there’s a little bit of frustration with that, too. We had big expectations coming into the year, and I had big expectations of myself.”
“You want to be a part of what’s going on. You want to be one of the guys contributing nightly to the success we’ve had.”
McGehee said he has met numerous times with manager Ron Roenicke and has appreciated Roenicke’s confidence in him.
“Even if he gets two hits a game, he’s still not going to hit what he hit last year,” Roenicke said. “Just relax and try to hit. It’s easy to say and hard to do. But the mentality needs to be that, instead of trying to catch up now for what’s gone on the whole year.”