PITTSBURGH -- After Neil Walker hit just .225 (18-for-80) with no homers and seven RBIs while batting right-handed in 2013, there has been considerable chatter among fans and the media that perhaps the switch-hitting second baseman would be better served hitting left-handed against left-handed pitchers.
But he disagrees.
"I got the least amount of right-handed at-bats this year that I've ever gotten," said Walker, who is a natural right-handed hitter. "There was only one left-handed starter in our division [Travis Wood of the Cubs], so the volume of at-bats just wasn't there. And facing left-handed relievers who are late-inning guys with big arms -- like [Cincinnati's] Aroldis Chapman -- isn't exactly the easiest thing if you're not where you want to be, as far as having a volume of at-bats as a switch-hitter.
"I know that question has been asked a lot, and it's been a hot topic for me individually -- whether I should start hitting left-handed against lefties -- but I'll tell you right now, I have a better chance of hitting right-handed against lefties. I need to be better and I will continue to work hard, but the fact of the matter is the best practice you get is in-game experience and bundling up at-bats."
Jim Lachimia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less