Cubs' Happ still dealing with challenges of switch-hitting
One challenge for the switch-hitting Ian Happ over the years is to be as strong from the right side as he is from the left side. Since there are far more right-handed pitchers in the majors, he ends up batting left-handed more often.
"It is difficult when you're not getting as many at-bats to keep your eyes fresh from that side," Happ said. "And it would seem like they're similar and if you're seeing the ball from the left side of the plate, it should naturally work the other way but it doesn't. I wish it did."
Happ, a natural right-hander, has a higher batting average from the right side this year. Over his career, Happ has hit 57 of his 68 home runs from the left side. The Mount Lebanon, Pa., native talked about how he got start switch-hitting.
"I started when I was eight years old," Happ said. "My brother was 14 and he was trying to do it. Didn't stick with it, but made sure that I did. So I worked on it from 8 until 14 and then started full-time in games as a freshman in high school.
"Never really looked back. Got to college (at Cincinnati) and my freshman year, freshman fall was struggling a little bit and coach told me it might be to my benefit to just hit right-handed. Luckily we had a long conversation and I decided to continue switch-hitting and make sure I could prove myself in that realm."