“More than I can count,” Venable, while speaking with Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, said when asked about the number of different swings he has attempted. He believes that part of his struggles toward consistency arise out of the inconsistencies with his swing. He hopes to change that this season.
Phil Plantier, one of the hitting coaches as part of the Padres dual hitting coach team, has been working with Venable on his swing, and they both think he has found one that will work. The two have worked together for about 10-12 sessions this offseason, and they continue to work together at the start of spring training.
With a swing that produces consistent results, and a swing that Venable knows he can duplicate, he hopes to provide the offense the Padres know he is capable of. Venable has struggled with batting average, but posted nice slugging numbers in 2009 and 2010. However, his slugging percentage, and his OPS, has looked like a bell curve in his career. As expected, his numbers started low in his first season. They then improved the next year before sliding back in the last two seasons.
When speaking to Center, Venable made it clear he knows what he’s doing and is confident in his abilities.
I don’t have to convince myself I can play at this level. I know I can. But I have to repeat it. I’m looking at the whole year almost like it’s the second straight year I have to figure it out. I’m confident I have found it. I’m confident in this swing.
As I outlined a couple days ago, this could very well be Venable’s last chance at proving himself to the Padres organization. It makes these changes to his swing increasingly important. But with a little bit of consistency, continued success on the base paths, and a little bit of luck, Venable may find himself a fixture in the organization for years to come.