Culver Turning The Corner

Culver has an .864 OPS in his last 17 games

CHARLESTON, SC - After making the decision to transition from a switch-hitter to a right-handed batter back in Spring Training, Cito Culver of the Charleston RiverDogs has found consistency and success in his latest at-bats, and has clearly been improving.

"I've just been trying to have a consistent approach and pick out the best pitch to hit," Culver said.

"I think on both sides of his game, offensively and defensively, he's been working extremely hard and doing the best he can to make his adjustments," Charleston manager Al Pedrique added. "Offensively, he started shortening up his swing a little bit, try and hit the other way, and be more aggressive.

"This is his first year hitting from the right side only, so we really have to give him credit. He's shown improvement lately. The only thing he needs to do is be more aggressive when he sees a fastball. He needs to learn how to hit a fastball first, but once he's comfortable and trusts his hands, he will hit balls."

Culver, who hit just .215 as a switch-hitter a year ago, batted all of .214 through his first 56 games in his return trip to Charleston this season. Though the numbers were not there, he stuck with it and he has now hit .280 over his past 27 games.

"It's a real credit to him for not giving up and he's really starting to turn a corner, and see rewards for all the work he's put in," hitting coach P.J. Pilittere said. "Mechanically he's done a nice job of cleaning up his hand movement, he's made it a lot more simple. He's recognizing offspeed a lot better which is giving him more success too."

Increasing comfort and a better mental state have a huge impact on Culver's recent success at the plate, and now that he's seeing success his confidence is beginning to grow.

"I've been working on just trying to be consistent, again," Culver said. "I think being consistent has helped me be more comfortable and confident at the plate. When I get out there I try not to think too much. I just try to go out there, get a good pitch, and put my best swing on it.

"I'm way more comfortable now than I was. It took a minute and it's still a work in progress but as from the beginning of the year until now, I'm way more comfortable."

"I think he's just finally starting to get comfortable and he's getting a lot more confident," Pilittere added. "Making the switch from being a switch-hitter to solely a right handed hitter is going to take some time and he's going to go through some struggles, nobody wants to admit that, but he did at the very beginning and has worked really hard."

"Mentally he needs to improve and stay focused throughout the whole game and play for 27 outs whether the team is doing well or not," Pedrique commented. "If he's having a bad week or not, even a bad year, e needs to be consistent no matter what and mentally he needs to be tougher.

"Little by little he starts showing signs that he's learning and understanding what kind of player he is, and what kind of player he can be."

After batting just .198 in May, he chipped in with a .241 average in June. So far in July he's batting a robust .292 with seven doubles, which is one more than he had combined in the months of May and June. He seems to be getting better with each passing month.

"He has been working on staying focused and hitting the ball the other way," Pedrique said. "Also, hitting the best pitch, staying away from fly balls, making hard ground balls and line drives, and staying inside the ball.

"Him and Pilittere have been working very hard on all of those things, and being consistent with his approach and during batting practice. He needs to try and have good BP so when the game starts the work will carry over."

"We've been working really hard on cleaning up his swing angle to keep him on top of the ball a little bit better," Pilittere added. "I think when the ball is close to him, because he's a guy that likes to work inside the ball, when he gets sinkers or fastballs in he really does a good job of destroying those pitches. And now he's actually improving on balls that are away from him as well."

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