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Plantier impressed with hitting thus far


PEORIA, Ariz. -- Second-year hitting coach Phil Plantier has been impressed by what he has seen from his hitters thus far -- not just the tangible results that occur in games, but the work they have done in the batting cage and on the practice fields.

"They're getting their timing, trying to slow the game down the best they can and get a pitch to hit," Plantier said. "The important thing is, guys just need at-bats right now. The work will make it into the game. I'm very happy with how that's going."

Plantier and assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell have spent most of their mornings in the covered hitting area near the practice field. A lot of position players are in camp, though the franchise-record 38 Cactus League games will give the Padres more chances to look at more players.

And in Plantier's case, more time to look at swings.

"When the game starts, don't think about your swing," Plantier said of what he preaches to hitters. "Go use what you have that day, trust your routines in the cage and get a good pitch in the games."

Plantier was asked about some of the young hitters in camp who have made a good impression on him thus far. He mentioned infielder Jedd Gyorko, outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks and Minor League infielder Jonathan Galvez.

"Jedd's handling himself right now, especially since he's in competition for a position," Plantier said. "Kyle seems like he's bounced back off his injury. He looks healthy. If Kyle is healthy, he's a threat. It's been nice to see him have some good at-bats so far."

Gyorko entered Saturday's game against the Indians hitting .278 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his first 18 at-bats. Blanks is hitting .467 with a team-best seven hits -- including three doubles -- in 15 at-bats.

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