Foster used to swing a 33�-ounce bat, but he was never comfortable with it and kept borrowing bats from teammates until, one night in Indianapolis, he was loaned a 35-ouncer. "Right away I started hitting the ball on the nose," says Foster. He has been using bats of that weight ever since and, perhaps as another display of hot doggery, has the Louisville Slugger people stain them black. "I'm integrating the bat rack," he says.
Opposing pitchers are not particularly fond of Foster, not just because of all the runs he has knocked in with his black bat. What they object to is Foster's penchant for leaving the batter's box between pitches; he may well be the most fidgety batter in the majors. Three times this season he has had strikes called on him when he was out of the box or just stepping back in.
"Most pitchers think I'm trying to break up their rhythm, but I'm not," says Foster. "I'm trying to get my concentration, and when I do get it, I'm trying to keep it turned on. The main thing is how I'm going to apply my time while I'm in there. There is a rule restricting pitchers from taking too much time, but there's no rule restricting batters."
His concentration must be pretty good, for last week he ran his latest hitting streak to 18 games (best on the Reds this season) and at week's end he was batting .327, had driven in a league-leading 73 runs—six more than Kingman—and was leading the Reds in homers with 17. He started the season batting in the sixth spot in the order, then was moved to fifth. Two weeks ago in San Diego, Anderson put him in the cleanup spot. Earlier, when Second Baseman Morgan had been spiked and was forced out of the lineup, Foster had taken his place as third in the order.
Sixth, fifth, fourth, third, Foster is unimpressed. "There's no guarantee that when you get up there on top you're going to stay there," he says. "You just have to keep working." Although a little time off outside the batter's box apparently helps, too.