PEORIA, Ariz. -- The sample size couldn't be much smaller, but the Padres have been encouraged from what they've seen from shortstop Everth Cabrera's right-handed swing this spring.
A switch-hitter, Cabrera has three hits in five at-bats from the right side, but it's been his side work with hitting coach Phil Plantier and also assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell that has the team encouraged his dismal .195 mark right-handed will be better in 2013.
"It's more of a shorter, direct path to the ball," manager Bud Black said of Cabrera. "It's trying to keep the ball out of the air. He needs to work on line drive, down. That's his challenge."
Last season, Cabrera hit .246 overall in 398 at-bats, but hit just .195 in 113 at-bats from the right side. The Padres, who could choose to use Logan Forsythe at shortstop against left-handed pitchers, would like to see Cabrera become more proficient at hitting breaking balls.
"It's putting the bat on the ball more consistently, making sure he recognizes breaking ball, picks up spin and reacts accordingly," Black said.
The work on Cabrera's swing, right-handed and left-handed, started long before he got to Peoria last month.
"He and Phil have been working real hard on his swing this winter," Black said. "Everth spent a lot of time in Los Angeles working at a performance center. Then he would drive down to Phil's house and work in his backyard."