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2013 Red Sox Minor League Headshots Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox)
Saturday, May 11, 2013
On an average night, Garin Cecchini gets nine or 10 chances to secure a victory.
While many players talk about hitting the reset button after every at-bat, the Carolina League's leading hitter breaks his battles down even further.
"I'm just trying to win each pitch," said Cecchini, Salem's 22-year-old third baseman. "That's the kind of mind-set that I want to take and right now I am taking. Hopefully it will keep correlating to good at-bats. It's worked for me."
It has. Cecchini entered this weekend's series at Myrtle Beach batting .380 - 28 points higher than anyone else in the Carolina League.
After starting the season 0 for 7 in his first two games, Cecchini has gone 41 for 101 (.406) with 19 extra-base hits, and 19 RBIs.
So, what percentage of pitches is he winning these days?
"Man, that's tough," Cecchini said. "I wish I would know.
"Winning a pitch, to me, is a ball, a line-drive out, a good hack on a foul ball that I hit hard - I won that pitch. I think I've won a lot. I'd say 60 percent, 65 percent."
Cecchini, a fourth-round pick out of a Louisiana high school in 2010, hit .305 at Greenville last year and ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League with 38 doubles.
So far this year, he already has matched his home run total from last season (four) in less than a quarter of the at-bats. He's second in the league with 10 steals after swiping 51 bags in 2012.
Not that he's focusing on numbers.
"I try not to, but I mean, it's in my face every time I go up into the batter's box," Cecchini said. "It's there. You can't ignore it."
As an amateur, Cecchini played on USA Baseball's 18U team with Bryce Harper, leading the squad to its first-ever gold medal in the Pan American Junior Championships. His younger brother, Gavin, was drafted in the first round by the Mets last year.
So Cecchini has pedigree. He also has a tried-and-true approach.
"If I win pitches, then I win at-bats," he said. "If I win at-bats, then we win games. That's the kind of mind-set I take."
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