BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) Ke'Bryan Hayes thought the call might come last September with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a free fall. It didn't and, yeah, it bothered the third base prospect more than a little.
"I just used it as motivation for this offseason going back home," Hayes said recently. "They told me what they wanted me to work on so, just went home, prepared for this year."
Namely, fine-tuning his approach at the plate after his sprint through the minors stalled a bit last summer at Triple-A Indianapolis. His .263 batting average was the lowest of his still young professional career as he ran into pitchers who - like Hayes - were on the cusp. His strikeout total ticked up. His walks ticked down. His patience was tested.