The Cincinnati Bearcats baseball team is in the news today for a revolutionary vision training program they are using to help their offense. It involves a wide range of activities designed to sharpen focus and help players better see the ball.
According to the Associated Press, the Bearcats increased their team batting average by 34 points last season, despite the NCAA switch to aluminum bats engineered to play more like wooden ones. The program helped Cincinnati get significantly better at the plate while hitting was down overall in the Big East.
They say the exercise has become more and more popular and is even practiced in the major leagues. Quoted in the story is none other than Nationals utility guy Steve Lombardozzi.
''I try and get an edge any way I can,'' Lombardozzi told AP. ''I'm big into vision training. To me, it's a no-brainer. The most important thing about hitting is you have to see the ball to hit. Any type of vision training you can do to help you see the ball, the more successful you're going to be.''
The switch-hitting Lombardozzi is currently batting .317 in 33 games this season. At six feet and 195 pounds, the 23-year-old makes his living as a contact hitter and has done well for himself so far.
The article describes the drills Cincinnati uses, some of which involve blinding strobe goggles and other gadgets designed. The goggles are used to blind the player for fractions of a second while they focus on catching balls thrown at them.
Cincinnati reportedly does the program several times a week. They have been contacted by several MLB teams in interest of adopting the practice. With Lombardozzi as a proponent, maybe more Nationals players will catch on.
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.
Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.
Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.
Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.
Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.
By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.
Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.
Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.
MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win
The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.
Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.
Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.
At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.
Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.
Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.
Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.
Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.
MORE NATIONALS: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals