Last season, Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann had an off year at the plate. Not only did his batting average drop from .264 in 2015 to .221 in 2016, but, he had a major problem with strikeouts. In 344 at-bats, McCann managed to strike out 32% of the time (109 times). Stats here provided by Baseball Reference.

McCann told MLive that he is taking a different hitting approach this year.

“With two strikes you’re not trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” he said. “It might happen. But especially with runners in scoring position, your job is to put the ball in play. Good things will happen when you do that.”

McCann is dedicated to turning the offensive part of the game around by using technology and coaching that is available to him. He has been working with Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon to improve.

“I watched a lot of film. Made a few changes. I got down here (Spring Training) early working with Lloyd.”

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News caught up with manager Brad Ausmus to find out his thoughts about his young catcher.

“I’ve said before, I think he’ll hit 15 to 20 homers,” manager Brad Ausmus said over the winter. “I’d like to see him cut down on the strikeouts and I’ve talked to him about this. Especially hitting towards the bottom of the lineup — shorten up and put the ball in play.

“I think that’s where you will see the most dramatic change for him. I think you’ll see him cut down on his strikeouts this year. I still think he will be a good offensive catcher.”

One thing is for sure, McCann is wasting no time getting going on the 2017 season. This shot from his Twitter feed this morning shows him up and at ’em bright and early!

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