Cubs: Darwin Barney trying to get back to the basics

Cubs: Darwin Barney trying to get back to the basics
February 3, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

Darwin Barney is looking for a fresh start.

The 28-year-old former Gold Glove winner is most known for his defense at second base, but it was his work at the plate that dominated his attention last season, hitting a career-worst .208 with a .569 OPS.

In the previous two-plus seasons in the majors, Barney sported a .263 average with a .654 OPS, totalling 6.9 WAR (2.7 offensive WAR) by Baseball Reference's metric. Last year, his overall WAR was -0.5, weighed down by his -1.7 OWAR.

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With a new manager and two new hitting coaches, Barney is ready to get back to square one.

"This year, I took plenty of time off [after the season]," Barney told CSN's Kelly Crull in a 1-on-1 interview at the Cubs Convention last month. "I needed to rest the muscle memory. I created some bad habits.

"Trying to maybe do too much on the production side rather than finding ways to get on base and get hits. What got me here is the approach I'm going to go back to."

Barney has already been down to Arizona this winter to get some work in with new Cubs hitting coaches Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley.

"The first day, we spent three hours in the cage," Barney said. "A lot of talking going on about approach and just releasing tension and perfecting the setup and stuff where you're worrying about the things you can control."

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Barney won an NL Gold Glove in 2012 and believes he would have won another one last year if not for his struggles at the plate.

"You can't win a Gold Glove at this level with the offensive numbers that I had, plain and simple," Barney told Crull. "I'm not closed-minded. I understand that this is the highest level in baseball, and you have to be a well-rounded player to win accolades at this level."

Check out the rest of Barney's interview with Crull above.