NEW YORK -- Alex Cora thinks Mookie Betts is close.
The right fielder has spent the bulk of the season in a slump, and his average dipped to .212 following Tuesday's night's 0-for-3 performance in an 8-0 loss to the Yankees that left Betts once again searching for answers.
But speaking to reporters before the series finale Wednesday night, Cora explained why Betts might not be as far away as he thinks.
"I just think he's off right now," Cora said. "The cool thing about those guys, the special ones, it takes one swing to get back to it. Like I said, I'm not going to be surprised if then all of a sudden, today in the first at-bat, boom, he puts a good swing on it and from there he clicks. So, I don't think he's putting pressure on himself. I just think like right now he's off a little bit. He's missing his pitch. He's falling behind in counts and they're pitching to the edges, they're expanding, it's all that stuff going on right now. But like I said, with those special guys, one swing might get them. One swing in the cage, or one swing in BP, or one swing in the game. Then they take off."
Betts' struggles actually extend to last year's postseason, where he hit .210 with one home run. He has looked in the dugout in the middle of at-bats for feedback on his mechanics, a sure sign that things aren't going well.
He has also spent more time discussing his struggles than anyone would like.
"As you guys know, I keep telling them, don't get caught up on the whole noise," Cora said. "I told them that last year and it's the same this year. Don't get caught up on whatever is going on outside our world. I don't feel like that's the case. He's just searching. He's searching. And it's uncomfortable to have fun in this game when you don't feel comfortable at the plate. We don't want to take away the joy of the game and all that, but sometimes it's hard to smile and to have fun when you don't feel right."
Cora added that dropping Betts from leadoff to the No. 2 hole -- now widely accepted as the best place for your best overall hitter -- is not impacting him. Betts was back in the leadoff spot on Wednesday with Andrew Benintendi sitting against Yankees lefty J.A. Happ.
"He got some pitches yesterday that he put some good swings on," Cora said. "I feel like he's getting close. He's getting close. We'll keep staying with what we think is going to help and is going to make us a good offensive club, but I don't think it's the order leading off, hitting second, hitting third. I don't think it matters, I think it's just him trying to find his swing and I do feel like he's getting closer."
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