Xavier Scruggs: Slump-busting is tough work

Adam Melker

St. Louis Cardinals Double-A first baseman Xavier Scruggs discusses his slump and his teammate Adam Melker.

A quarter of the season has now passed. As a team, we are a few games under .500.

The beginning of the season has been quite frustrating for me only because I know that I should be playing so much better. I'm slowly starting to get my swing back going again but it has been such a strenuous process. Last year, I struggled early but was able to turn it on after the first month. This year, it has been frustrating because I had such a good spring training and I was feeling really good coming into the regular season.

This game is all about adjustments. I feel like this year is about making the adjustments that will eventually help me become better prepared for the next level, and ultimately the big leagues. The good thing is that I know I can play at Double-A and perform because I have been in this league before (late 2010).

Mentally, I have stayed positive throughout my struggles and have continued to work hard in the cages and before the game on perfecting my swing and approach. I don't know if there is a perfect swing, but even if there isn't, I'm trying to get mine as close to perfect as I can. I've been working with our hitting coach and our minor league hitting instructor, but ultimately it's up to me to make the proper adjustments.

The most important adjustment that needs to be made is in my head. The reason I say that is that it is most important that I am making smart decisions at the plate. I need to be swinging at pitches I can drive and better recognizing the types of pitches I'm being thrown. I have to just control what I can control and take every at bat one pitch at a time. I can't get caught up in thinking about my statistics or the umpire making a bad call.

It is also important for me to remember to have fun as well and just do what I know I'm capable of doing. I talked to a few guys during our last road trip about "having fun". It's funny because we as professionals look at this game of baseball more like a business. It's hard to look at this game the same way we looked at it when we were in Little League. There is pressure to perform and to win now. It's almost like the only time you are truly having fun is when you are performing well. It's not fun at all when you are struggling to get a hit. However, when you are struggling, it is important to enjoy the little things that we sometimes take for granted in this game.

Recently, I have just been taking a step back and thinking about how blessed I am to have the opportunity to play in some of the most beautiful minor league stadiums in the nation. Hammons Field is the best place I have ever played in and I really enjoy playing in such a great stadium.

I have also recently been thinking about some of the relationships I've had the opportunity to develop while playing with this year's team. I know I have said it before, but I couldn't be around a better group of guys. I think we all expect to win and push each other towards greatness.

I have met a lot of great people/players in this game and this blog gives me the opportunity to talk about my teammate Adam Melker. If you haven't had the chance to watch this outfielder play, you are doing yourself a disservice. He is one of the most exciting players I have ever played with. I give him a hard time because it seems like he dives for every ball in the outfield. That being said, he catches everything.

All that is beside the point, because Adam is an all-around great guy. He is the definition a winning player and a great teammate. He's the type of person I want on my team because his goals are the same as mine. He wants to win and wants to get better everyday. He's the positive person you always want to be around. That's why he's my throwing partner.

I'm also sitting behind Adam on this bus right now. Of course he's eating candy and smiling like a little kid. He probably doesn't know it, but just the way he goes about his business reminds me that this game is supposed to be fun.

There are a lot of guys like that on this team who help me enjoy it daily. I'm blessed to have teammates rooting for me and keeping me positive, even during my time of struggling at the plate. It's going to make it that much sweeter when I get hot and this team takes off!

Follow me on Twitter @Xavier_Scruggs.

Link to my earlier reports from spring training and winter ball in Colombia.



© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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