LaRoche looking for his power stroke

LaRoche looking for his power stroke

PITTSBURGH -- Andy LaRoche talked this spring about the need to hit for more power this season, knowing that such production is typically expected of a third baseman. To this point, though, the power numbers have been lagging.

While LaRoche has been one of the Pirates' most consistent hitters to this point, the extra-base hits haven't been falling with as much regularity as LaRoche had hoped. LaRoche had just one double and two home runs before going deep in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Chicago.

But could that solo home run off Chicago's Ryan Dempster be a sign that his power might soon show with more frequency?

"I told [hitting coach] Don [Long last weekend] in L.A. that it was coming," LaRoche said. "I felt like the swing was there. I was getting a lot of base hits, but the power wasn't there. The swing was there and the timing was off. I feel like it's getting close, and hopefully there will be some power production coming up."

LaRoche showed decent power numbers in the Minors -- he had 30 homers in Class A in 2005 -- but that hasn't yet been the case in the Majors. He hit 12 in 150 games with the Pirates last year, with eight of them coming in the final 48 games when LaRoche stopped feeling limited by a right thumb injury from 2008.

Though LaRoche hasn't shown exceptional power yet this season, the Pirates aren't in the business of complaining about his overall production. Since missing six games with back spasms, LaRoche has gone 17-for-42. In fact, since the beginning of last September, he is hitting .321 with 25 RBIs in 46 games.