Push for Perfection may be Working Against Athletics' Struggling Piscotty

John Hickey

The thing you need to know about Stephen Piscotty is that he’s a perfectionist.

It’s the way he’s described by Oakland A’s batting coach Darren Bush, who says Piscotty’s early season struggles have something to do with that perfectionism.

“It’s just like he wants to have success immediately,” Bush said before the final game of the A’s first homestand of the season Wednesday against Colorado. “He would like everything to be perfect, and sometimes you might not get that. That’s the side that you need to understand and that you’re doing everything the way that you want to do it.

“Give it time to be patient.”

That patience would come more easily if the season were, say 162 games, instead of just 60. Playing right field in three of the A’s first five games, he’s just 1-for-10, the one hit a double. And he’s struck out four times.

“When it’s 60 games, all of a sudden, you’d be like, `Okay, I need this to happen right now,” Bush said. “There’s a process. You need to be kind of patient and make sure you continue to stay the course. He’s doing a good job of that, and he needs to understand that.”

He’s not alone, though. Khris Davis, the DH, is hitless in 15 at-bats. Second baseman Chad Pinder is 1-for-9 after being the hottest A’s hitter in the workouts building up to the season’s start, and rookie catcher Sean Murphy is 1-for-7.

Bush sees the A’s shortened workouts this month as having played against Piscotty. The right fielder would normally want to come into a season with 50 spring at-bats. This time around, it was closer to 30, and most of those were in simulated games because the A’s and all big-league clubs were limited to a handful of games against other clubs.

“He’s a little behind on the amount of at-bats you’d like to have going into the season,” Bush admitted.

And it hasn’t helped that he’s not getting as many at-bats as he like. He started in just three of the first five games.

Bush said that makes the turnaround more difficult to the point where it’s “more of a mental thing.”

”It’s a case of `It’s OK, you know even though I’m used to playing every day, it’s OK,’” Bush said. “It’s a little bit of a learning curve, when you’re showing up and going through your routine, play the game and do it again the next day. And if you’re not playing on a consistent basis, you miss that one aspect.

“So, you have to do different things to replicate (game at-bats) as much as you can to stay up to speed. It’s a learning process and I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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