Jeff Francoeur #21 of the Kansas City Royals hits a RBI single in the first inning during a game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on September 16, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photographer: Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
Jeff Francoeur heard the criticism last year, and he understands it.
"Last year, I just never seemed to click from the beginning," Francoeur said this week at Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz.
After hitting .285 in 2011, Francoeur's batting average plummeted to.235 in 2012. He wasn't hitting as many home runs and looked a step slow in the outfield.
"I worked hard on my legs this offseason. That's probably the one thing I did the most of for three months is try to get my legs under me,” Francoeur said. “I feel like I lost them last year, lost a lot of power down there. Hopefully, I'll get them back."
The 29-year-old has hit the gym hard to regain his physical skills.
The Royals also want him to regain the patient approach at the plate that worked so well in 2011.
"I definitely lost that last year. No doubt about that. It's something I'm trying to get back."
Francoeur is striving for a more patient approach and a shorter swing at the plate.
"My goal this year is to stay short and quick to the ball."
At various times throughout his career, Francoeur has been able to bounce back from a poor season. Ned Yost is banking on that trend continuing.
"There's a lot of players that go through their careers that have rough years,” Francoeur said.
The Royals are clearly counting on that. For the moment, Francoeur has no serious challenger for his starting spot in right field.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Sports Headlines
The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in a tough first-round group at next year's World Cup that will take them on a lengthy 9,000-mile trip around Brazil.