MIAMI -- For most, baseball is a game of inches. For John Buck, it has been less than that of late.
The Marlins catcher has labored at the plate for much of the season, with his batting average floating around .160 since late May. During the last six games, though, Buck has been in a groove at the plate, going 6-for-19 (.315) with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Buck has worked with hitting coach Eduardo Perez on a few minor adjustments to shorten his swing, but hasn't made a major mechanical overhaul.
"When you look at film [from earlier this season and now] and you put them both side by side, you can't tell the difference," Buck said. "It's the same. I'm just literally ... my hands are a fraction of a bit higher on the ball where my barrel is hitting."
Even through the rocky start, Buck hasn't put too much stock in his batting average, which is still just .181 entering Friday, despite the recent surge. He understands that it's going to take a lot more than a couple of good days at the plate to raise the average.
"My average is so low, it's not like I'm going to be in the running for any batting championships," Buck said. "It helps me be in the moment and be what my team needs at that particular point."
While Buck hasn't let his struggles in the batter's box affect his performance behind the plate, manager Ozzie Guillen is pleased his backstop is starting to come around offensively, providing the Marlins with some much-needed help at the bottom of the order.
"We need that," Guillen said. "He's struggled all year long, and now we have the help from the bottom of the lineup. The bottom of the lineup most of the year has been very dry; not that much action down there. But now with Buck swinging the bat that way, it's a big help, a huge help."