As struggles mount, White Sox stick by De Aza

As struggles mount, White Sox stick by De Aza
May 29, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Alejandro De Aza went hitless in three at-bats as the White Sox lost 9-3 to the Cubs on Wednesday. The White Sox leadoff hitter, who struck out once in the game and has averaged a strikeout in every four trips trips to the plate, has a . 241 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage this season.

But while his offensive issues are concerning, manager Robin Ventura is prepared to stay with De Aza and hope he can ride out his current struggles.

"You just have to keep working at it and we have to find it within our guys," Ventura said. (That's where) you have to find it because you aren’t going to get any help anywhere else."

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Hitting coach Jeff Manto has identified De Aza's problem and is confident that it not only can be fixed, but that when it is the 29-year-old will be back to his usual, productive self. The issue has been with De Aza's feet, which haven't been grounded, leading to him swinging over pitches and that 26.8 percent strikeout rate.

"He just doesn't have his feet underneath him," Manto said. "His base is not as firm as it was in the past. And that's not allowing him to see the ball, it's not allowing him to take good swings, and it's unfortunately a work in progress."

It's something De Aza has worked on in the batting cages, but Manto said too he and White Sox coaches have to trust in the outfielder's ability -- the same ability that led De Aza to a .291/.361/.435 slash line in 2011 and 2012.

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For now, De Aza will keep leading off games for the White Sox, although Ventura did say moving Alexei Ramirez from No. 2 to No. 1 in the order is a possibility down the road. Until that decision is made, though, De Aza and the White Sox are hoping for a turnaround that could be a spark for the team's offense.

"It is frustrating," De Aza said. "But at the same time, you just have to work on it and try to get it right."