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Texas Rangers Center Fielder Leody Taveras Hopes Healthy Spring Equals Fast Start On Base Paths

A 2023 spring training oblique injury diminished Texas Rangers center fielder Leody Taversas' aggressiveness on the base paths. He wants to change that in 2024.

Texas Rangers center fielder Leody Taveras wants to pick up his pace on the bases in 2024.

Taveras, who had 14 steals in 18 attempts in 2023, said he was less aggressive after recovering from an oblique strain during spring training.

He already has two steals in 11 spring games but is batting .160. The switch-hitter says his timing has been a bit off while working on hitting from the left side.

"In the beginning, I was feeling good, but then I messed up my timing a little bit while working on the left side," Taveras told reporters. "I feel good. It’s all about timing. It's spring training; I think I can get it in time."

He's not just working on the left side in Cactus League games. He's working in the batting cage, "letting my body feel better. [Working on] the little details. Working every single day. Never is it enough. You've got to keep going, keep learning," he said.

So far this spring, Taveras, 25, has struggled against left-handers. He's 0 for 10 with five strikeouts and two walks. Against right-handers, he's 4 for 15 with six strikeouts and two walks. In 2023, Taveras had 23 doubles and 12 homers while batting .275 against right-handed pitches. Against left-handers, he batted .241 with eight doubles and two homers. Against left-handed starting pitchers, however, Taveras batted .314 with 12 doubles, two triples, and a homer.

"I feel really good, honestly," he said.

Along with producing more on the left side of the plate, Taveras hopes to be more aggressive on the bases.

"Yes, for sure. I’ve got to get the habit back," he said. "Last year, I wasn’t that aggressive, so this year, it’s on my mind to put more effort into that."

In 2022, he had only three fewer steals than he did in 2023 despite playing in 44 fewer games.

"Maybe I lost my confidence in the beginning after hurting my oblique," said Taveras, who also stole 10 bases in 11 attempts in 49 games in 2021. "Then, when I came back, I didn’t feel fast enough. I think that was the problem. I know I can do it. So this year, I’ll put more effort into it."

You can follow Stefan Stevenson on X @StefanVersusTex.

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