August has been kind to Buck

August has been kind to Buck

MIAMI -- The first four months of the season weren't kind to John Buck. However, the first two weeks of August have been a different story.

The Marlins' catcher has struggled offensively for most of the season, hitting .168 with a .287 on-base percentage and a .295 slugging percentage through the end of July. Since the calendar turned to August, though, Buck has turned things around at the plate.

"He's swinging the bat a little bit better the last two weeks," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Even though you look up and his average is still low, the last couple weeks he's swinging the bat better."

Although his season average is still not where he'd like it to be -- .186 entering play on Sunday -- Buck is hitting .333 (10-for-30) and slugging .567 in August. Of his 10 hits this month, seven have been doubles, including a game-tying two-bagger in Saturday's 7-3 win against the Dodgers. The seven doubles are as many as he had during the first four months.

"I feel good," Buck said. "The ball is hitting my bat and going where it needs to go, instead of at people. I'm also not missing my pitches."

Buck credited much his recent turnaround to Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez, who has put in extra work with the backstop. Perez noticed on film that Buck was just missing pitches earlier in the season and suggested the former All-Star drop his hands a few inches in his approach. So far, the adjustment has paid off.

"He's [gotten] big hits for us; I hope he keeps it up," Guillen said. "We've got a lot of baseball games to go, and [we've] got a chance to make a pretty good comeback."